Mentally rehearsing arguments is a common activity. For example, perhaps you find yourself automatically imagining a conflict-filled dialogue when you consider approaching someone at work about an ongoing problem, or a difficult family fight has left you obsessing over “argument lines” you could have said.
However, regardless of how and when you rehearse arguments, you’re engaging in a form of intensely negative thinking that’s often irrational. But how do you stop this habit, and replace it with something more productive?
First, you need to get a better handle on why it is that we tend to rehearse arguments. In many cases, what happens is that our mind simply gets stuck on either a distressing old argument or the expectation of a future one.
In either case, we can temporarily feel better. For example, if you rehearse a previous argument, you can pretend you “won”. The sense of victory, even in the fantasy, can smooth over embarrassment or distress from the real incident.
Meanwhile, if you rehearse an expected argument, you can feel better about your ability to stay one step ahead and handle the real thing if it occurs.
So that’s why we engage in this process. However, the problem is that it’s ultimately an unhelpful defense mechanism.
There are plenty of reasons why rehearsing arguments end up causing more harm than good.
Some of the most significant include:
When you’re imagining an argument, your body’s stress responses kick into gear and flood your system with cortisol. Your blood pressure rises, your heart beats faster, and you can easily end up feeling strung out.
You can’t change the past or predict how another person is going to speak to you in the future, rendering a rehearsed argument a pointless waste of time. Just think what you could be doing instead, such as making productive plans for the future, focusing on gratitude, or reorganizing your social life to block out people who’re toxic and undermining.
Even if you imagine being the victor in an argument, the act of visualizing conflict shifts your focus to negative thoughts and feelings. Anger, resentment, bitterness and vindictive desires are at the forefront of your mind, reducing your ability to enjoy your life.
If you put the above information together, it’s obvious why a habit of rehearsing argument interferes with your ability to use the Law of Attraction to its full potential. Essentially, you’re forcing yourself to vibrate at a low, negative frequency, and you’re visualizing bad things you don’t truly want to happen (instead of visualizing the dreams you want to achieve).
Now that you have a better sense of why you might be tempted to rehearse arguments and why that’s really no good for your well-being or your manifestation potential, it’s time to think about how you can avoid this kind of destructive over-thinking.
Here are some ways to be proactive about making changes:
If you can work out how to catch yourself starting to replay an old argument or rehearse an imaginary one, you’ll be better able to stop the process before it gets truly underway. Cultivate a habit of noticing when you start to fantasize about a conflict-laden situation.
When you do catch yourself rehearsing arguments, look to distract yourself with something good. Call a friend, start reading an absorbing book, watch a funny movie or put on some cheerful music and start an energetic workout. Your focus will shift in no time.
You can also stick with the theme of imagining your interactions with this particular person, but change the visualization so that it takes on a positive flavor that influences your mood in a good way. For example, you might imagine having a calm, loving discussion with the other person, or shutting down conflict before it really begins (refusing to let it undermine your happiness).
Finally, if the argument you’re rehearsing relates to ongoing negativity between you and another person, consider what concrete steps you can take in the real world to make things right. Do you own an apology? Is there something you can suggest to help you both keep the peace in the future?
Find a way to swallow any lingering pride, and build bridges with this person if they’re someone you care about. Meanwhile, if this an argument with someone who brings nothing good into your life, think about how you can end the argument by potentially removing this person from your sphere of influence.