Over the years I’ve seen many people struggle with painful situations. The common theme is that somewhere we believe that if we keep sifting through the problem and replaying it in our minds, we’ll find the right solution. There’s a reason why we believe this. Evolutionary Psychology explains this as an important survival mechanism. Our ancestors who worried and anticipated danger were the ones who survived to reproduce, while our more laid back ancestors didn’t live to pass on their genes. You can think of our brains as finely tuned problem solving machines, yet there’s a fine line between problem solving and ruminating. The former is constructive while the latter only makes us anxious and stressed out.
So how do you know when to hold – continuing the problem solving process, and when to fold – which would be a surrendering to not having any control of the situation? If you check in with your heart and get out of your mind, usually your inner wisdom will give you the answer. It’s hard to accept that we’re not in control of our lives, so we often ignore our inner voice which is saying, “Stop torturing yourself there’s nothing more you can do.” When you find yourself in this situation: (1) Get out of your head so that you can listen to your smart self and find something productive to focus on. You’ll see that it provides relief. Folding, or surrendering is an important skill that we all have to learn and practice in life. Surrendering is the act of believing that many things are beyond our control. I don’t claim to have mastered this skill myself, but when I’ve been able to surrender to a life situation I’ve found that new options appear that had gone unnoticed. Give it a try!