Rumination: Definition, Examples, and How to Stop

One study found that rumination plays a role in maintaining OCD symptoms that can also contribute to depressed mood. Eating disorders can cause people to ruminate about food, dieting, and exercising. When you start ruminating, note where you are, the time of day, who’s around you, and what you’ve been doing. In today’s world, even watching the news or scrolling through social media may be triggers.

I learnt how to stop ruminating so much and it really has helped improve my anxiety symptoms. The thoughts are often repetitive and causes me great anxiety. I’ve tried energy therapy to help me stop ruminating, but I think the therapist wasn’t very good, because it didn’t help my overthinking at all.

If applicable, try to see the irony in being both narcissistic and insecure, rather than viewing it as an indictment on your character. You can even try imagining an ultra-neurotic TV character version of yourself. Not every rumination topic is appropriate for this strategy but catch any that are. We often give in to rumination when we’re trying to solve a problem. If something in our life doesn’t get closure, we’ll work hard in our minds to try to find new patterns and solutions so we can get the closure we need. For instance, if someone we love died suddenly, we may have stop ruminating thoughts to work through the stages of grief and trauma of the loss.

To stop obsessive thinking in its tracks, it’s important to identify these unwanted intrusive thoughts in the first place. Seems simple, but knowing how to stop intrusive thinking is a little trickier than it sounds. When we try to avoid negative thoughts while in an obsessive state, the brain keeps reminding us about the unwanted thoughts so we don’t forget to stop thinking about them. It’s the same basic principle behind being told not to think about something — say a pink elephant — and our next thought becoming exactly what we are not supposed to think about. One goal of these thoughts is to try to find answers and meaning in things that have happened in the past, and in current symptoms/thoughts/feelings.

So in this article, we’ll share what is ruminating, what causes it, and how to stop ruminating thoughts. When you obsessively think about a negative situation and find that you can’t stop, it will likely make you feel worse. Rumination can transform a minor or trivial mistake into a major catastrophe.

Try to implement these exercises for shorter durations and slowly increase the time until you reach 45–60 minutes. Rumination encourages a hyper-vigilant response to negative feelings and psychological states. In contrast, meditation develops awareness about our thinking and psychological states, while also performing a protective role against these states.

A ruminative reaction to an event often triggers memories of similar situations from the past and an unproductive focus on the gap between the real and ideal self. Prompted by this one event, you begin to chastise yourself for not being more of something…organized, ambitious, smart, disciplined, or charismatic. Spending more time in nature may reduce rumination which, in turn, can protect against the development of mental illness, such as anxiety or depression. First, meditation practice helps with emotional awareness.

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