Author Archives: Sara Pishdadian

About Sara Pishdadian

Sara Pishdadian is a graduate student studying Clinical Psychology at York University. You can follow her on twitter to hear more about her research interests https://twitter.com/sarapishdadian.

Down the Rabbit Hole

As Alice, from the classic novel and film Alice in Wonderland, follows the well-dressed rabbit down the rabbit hole, one is left to wonder – why? Most advice would say to stay away from the uncertainty of the rabbit hole. However, the rabbit hole can be symbolic for one’s mind and how we sometimes let ourselves go down the rabbit hole of our thoughts, whether we intend to or not. For example, when your friend doesn’t answer their phone, you might begin to wonder why they didn’t answer, even though the first logical thought is to assume they are just busy. Your thoughts may wander to thinking that they are ignoring you, that they are hanging out with new friends and didn’t invite you, or that they don’t care about you to the same extent that you care about them. If you find yourself going down the rabbit hole here are some suggestions to stop your mind from wandering to these unwanted thoughts.

1. Remember that even though it may feel personal, it probably isn’t. We tend to have a bias towards the negative, which can often make us feel like others are criticizing us, ignoring us, or have some sort of complex plan to mistreat us. But more often than not, what may feel like a personal attack is just someone being preoccupied with themselves.

2. Acknowledge you have gone into the rabbit hole. When you start making assumptions based on insufficient information, take a step back and tell yourself not to worry until you have a chance to talk to the person. If you can’t detect that you have gone down the rabbit hole, you won’t be able to stop it.

3. Focus on yourself to identify the trigger. Notice how you are feeling right before you go down the rabbit hole? Often people go down the rabbit hole when they are feeling overly tired, anxious, stressed, or annoyed. Once the trigger is identified, try finding a way to calm down and distract yourself. I recommend writing a list of things that you can do when your feeling overwhelmed. For example, watching Netflix, breathing exercises, stretching, listening to music, or going for a walk. These can help center you in these moments.

4. Remind yourself of the facts and bring some context into the scenario. Referring to the phone example – what time of day is it? Does this person usually answer their phone? Is it possible they don’t enjoy speaking on the phone? Is there a productive way you can raise your concern about the lack of telephone response with the person? Do you always answer your phone when people call?

5.What can you do in this moment to be productive? This may be thinking about the situation more deeply, or it may be moving on to another task. You can almost always come back to a situation later, let time give you some perspective.

6. Forgive yourself and move on! Sometimes it’s okay to go down the rabbit hole, as it can be beneficial and sometimes even fun to consider multiple scenarios and let your mind wander. You shouldn’t feel guilty when your mind leads you to negative thoughts. Just accept that this will happen from time to time and know that it will pass. Be kind to yourself!

By: Sara Pishdadian

Sara Pishdadian is a graduate student studying Clinical Psychology at York University. You can follow her on twitter to hear more about her research interests https://twitter.com/sarapishdadian.

Happiness Today, NOT Tomorrow

While I was scrubbing my white stove the other day, hating the outdated piece of metal, which is a master of accumulating dirt, I thought of how much I wanted a really nice, new stove. After all, new stoves do not have removable burners, often are stainless steel, and cleaning it would be so much easier. But I had to stop and remind myself that I should really appreciate my terrible stove.

Why? By all objective measures, this stove is terrible. However, the apartment is nicer then my previous one. If I am honest, I am much happier with my overall living situation now then I was previously. I have a balcony, a great location, a room with no mold, and an entryway! But I also have to deal with an incredibly outdated, uneven, permanently disfigured, white stove. However, when I widen my perspective and look the whole situation, the stove isn’t so horrible compared to all the other benefits. (Point 1: Widen perspective)

I also dream about the day I can have a larger kitchen with an open-concept floor plan and windows that bring in sunlight. As someone who loves HGTV, I can say that I have thought about the beauty of this dream kitchen in quite a bit of detail. However, the cost of this kitchen is far beyond my current financial capacities.

In thinking about my future, I will probably be finished with my schooling and working full-time. Likely my schedule will not be as flexible as it currently is, so I will be home less often. This will diminish my ability to enjoy my dream kitchen. Also, this dream kitchen will likely not be in my current (small) apartment with a beautiful balcony view. This dream kitchen will also create more cleaning for me to do due to its larger size. And so, if I am truthful about this dream kitchen, it comes with quite a few legitimate downfalls. This leads to my second point, which is that there are always compromises to every decision. (Point 2: There are always compromises)

Lastly, I know this seems odd given all the complaining I have just done about my stove, but I actually enjoy the act of cleaning. I find the immediate results of having something go from being dirty to clean gratifying. It may be the nature of my profession, or the way of the world, but most moments in my day I can’t immediately alter. When I’m cleaning my stove, I can focus my attention on the task at hand and tune out the world for a little while. That is not to say that cleaning the stove is extremely gratifying because it’s not, but when I choose to see the positives in the cleaning and be in the present moment, the entire act is better. (Point 3: Think positively and in the moment)

My life is not stress-free enough that my stove is the biggest problem I have. However, it is a part of my daily life and I believe there are legitimate lessons to be learned from this comical analogy. We can all do more to think more broadly about our current situation, realize that there is not a perfect future with no issues, and have a more optimistic outlook while being in the present moment. This perspective can be helpful in matters of dating, friendship, occupational distress, and other life situations. Because, while my kitchens may change over my lifespan, if I am not able to do these three things, I will never fully be happy. Let’s try to enjoy today, dirtiness and all, and not wait for tomorrow!

By: Sara Pishdadian

Sara Pishdadian is a graduate student studying Clinical Psychology at York University. You can follow her on twitter to hear more about her research interests https://twitter.com/sarapishdadian.

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