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“I was struggling with my daughter (16 at the time) and our constant fighting. You said something to me that changed my life! You were speaking about your own situation and you said to me “my child could not handle my emotions”. This was a HUGE “lightbulb moment” for me and it forever changed the way I dealt with my emotions when I was around my daughter!

I am happy to say that things have never been better between my soon to be 18 year old daughter and myself! I honestly never thought we would…

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You’re so honest in your writing. It’s bold. It’s frank. It’s wonderful. I could definitely see the work you are doing here as a useful book. It could save/make a lot of relationships! — Jimmi Langemo
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During one of the harder times in my life I found Brenda’s website
and reached out to her. To say the least it has been one of the best
decisions I have made. Being an extrovert I never quite understood
what it meant to romantically involved with an introvert. Brenda does
an incredible job listening, giving in the moment feedback, and helped
me understand the how an introvert functions. She helped explain to me
that I am introspective extrovert, and this gave something to identify
with and allowed me t…
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THANK YOU….. you just summed up my swirling thoughts into something i can read with out everything else in my head meshing with it. I finally feel like i can explain what happens within without getting distracted. I’m an Introvert with ADD and it makes it so hard to explain quite what im feeling sometimes. — M.G. on space2live
BRENDA: thank you SO much! Your advice is exactly what I need to do. I am amazed how much you “get” me after only exchanging a few messages!… Again, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You’ve helped me more than a year of therapy sessions! – Megan on space2live
I met Brenda and took the MBTI… I had a fairly good understanding of these types before the meeting but was impressed by the depth of knowledge that Brenda shared with me. She clearly has a passion for this work and a gift in imparting the information. There have been doors opened for me because of our talks… — Alan Hintermeister
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For the first time in my life I could truly explain, through your words the way in which I experience life and myself. Brenda… It all fell into place. I had found myself and had such a moment of clarity. It felt like such a big weight was lifted off of my shoulders. Finally I felt like it was ok to be me. I was not the only one. I had found people and a little space where I fit in. … I was at work and crying on the inside. Emotions ran wild inside me. I was ecstatic, sad, confused, motivated, i…
your depth of understanding, and talent at sharing it amaze me. Speechless… and for your sharing of it.. Thank you… deeply. *sigh, its like coming back into my body through acceptance….. Sherrie on space2live
Your words are my lifeline.  I sit down to your posts and as I read I can feel my acceptance of myself and my needs grow.  Your words validate my feelings about my life, motherhood, relationships and it is something I hold onto.  And during the times when I feel like I am not able to be a mother or a wife or a sister or a friend or whatever someone needs me to be, I go back to your words and find some peace…I send your posts to my husband when I need him to understand that I love him but I need …
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Are You a Brooder or Over Thinker? How to Overcome This Habit and Move Forward

woman brooding

I’m a brooder or over thinker. I hang on to emotions, memories, failures and perceived injustices for a long time. I know it doesn’t do any good and only keeps me stuck in a bad mood and/or a bad situation.

Brooders tend to be women. It’s a statistical fact. Men are more likely to bottle their emotions and/or gloss over difficult situations and ‘carry on’.

Neither are healthy and wreak havoc on our mood, body and relationships. According to Susan David in her book Emotional Agility:Get Unstuck, Embrace Change and Thrive in Work and Life, brooders are more in touch with their emotions which is good (unlike bottlers) but there is a possibility they drown in them.  Ms. David says we circle and hover over our worries and pain and as we do, the emotions pick up more energy with each pass.

We have good intentions. We feel our worrying is at least an effort to address the situation. Maybe when we ruminate on the subject for the 100th time we will figure out a solution? No. This rarely happens and our brooding exhausts us. It takes copious amounts of energy to rehash and rehash.

Does venting help?

Ms. David said venting to our friends doesn’t help either. If we only vent and don’t create any resolution, we are merely co-brooding. This constant need to air emotions and dump heaviness on others wears our loved ones out too.

I want to believe when I approach my loved ones with my worries, that I do so with the intention that we’ll talk it through to a solution. I don’t want to just complain and gripe. I want to figure things out. Empathy is great and appreciated but ultimately, I want action and resolution.

How to stop brooding

When we brood, we lose presence and engagement with the real world. Dour thoughts hijack our minds.

As I’ve mentioned before, one of my favorite personal mantras is, “Action dissolves fear.” This mantra usually propels me out of my brooding funk, albeit after an extended period of suffering.

As I mentioned in the last post, Dr. Claire Weekes (Hope and Help for Your Nerves) says to avoid nervous illness we need to be with others in light occupation. This, to me, means we need to get present and engaged with the world around us. Instead of living in our heads, we need to ground ourselves with our senses and relationships. We are not running from our fears, we are engaging our human qualities.

Introverts and highly sensitive people tend to hunker down with thoughts in our heads and minimize interactions with people. Both feed rumination.

Pay attention and relax

I recommend resisting the urge to time travel in your head to the past or the future. Notice your breathing, your environment, how your feet or butt touch a surface. Get out where people are. You don’t have to have a companion or group of friends to go out with. Just get out in the circulation of life. A coffee shop or library will do. Pay attention to nature, your body, something you hear on the radio. Interrupt the circling of injustices and pain. Stopping the over thinking, leads to an openness where possibilities and answers slip in. Possibilities and answers halt brooding.

Are you a brooder? If yes, what helps you stop ruminating? If no, what do you do instead? 

Photo by Niklas Hamann on Unsplash



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  1. Anne-Liesse April 1, 2019 at 7:28 am - Reply

    Hello Brenda,

    I love your mantra – I wrote it in my notebook and am going to add it to my mantra cards!

    I’m 47 and have stopped brooding a while ago – I don’t want to waste my life away… Meditation has definitely helped with that, and yoga, and reading or listening to inspirational content, like Brooke Castillo’s podcast for example. There’s nothing like the present moment, and shared moments with loved one.

    Finally, I share your thought on wanting action and resolution when sharing worries. Thanks for putting that into words. I had two frustrating interactions lately when I felt I complained about a situation to friends, but that led nowhere. Maybe I should have stated (more) clearly to them 1/ my need for support, 2/my need for practical advice.

    Love from Lyon, France!

    • Brenda Knowles April 1, 2019 at 9:04 am - Reply

      Thank you for sharing your experience and insight Anne-Liesse. I’m so glad we can connect and learn from each other. Keep on blossoming my French sister!

  2. Wynne N Potter March 30, 2019 at 11:55 am - Reply

    Saw a t-shirt you’d love,

    Hold on!
    Let me
    overthink this!

    • Brenda Knowles April 1, 2019 at 9:03 am - Reply

      I should own that t-shirt. 🙂 Thanks Wynne!

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