When faced with problems, our perception of how serious they are can make them feel overwhelming. This perception is influenced by our previous experiences, current state of being, and personality traits. Problems can feel particularly overwhelming when they make us feel like our life is in danger or when they impact our social status and expectations. Our natural reaction to problems is to think about them. We may consider possible solutions, dwell on the cause of the problem, and worry about how the situation will play out in the future.
According to Seneca, we tend to suffer more in our minds than in reality. Our imagination is a collection of self-generated thoughts that are influenced by our personality traits, beliefs and learned behaviors. It can be difficult to recognize their presence because we identify with our thoughts. Sometimes, we avoid being alone with our thoughts because they can be overwhelming. As a result, we distract ourselves with external activities to avoid facing our distorted thinking.