Do you ever feel like you can’t stop thinking about the same thing over and over again? This is called rumination.
Rumination can be extremely damaging because it causes us to focus on negative thoughts, which only makes us feel worse.
In this blog post, I will discuss what rumination is, what causes it, and how to break the cycle.
What is rumination?
Rumination is defined as “a repetitive thought process in which an individual obsessively thinks about the causes, consequences, and symptoms of their distress” (Nolen-Hoeksema, 1991). In other words, it’s when we can’t stop thinking about something that’s bothering us.
What causes ruminating?
There are a few different things that can cause rumination.
Perfectionists tend to ruminate because they are never satisfied with their accomplishments. They are always striving for more and berating themselves for not being good enough.
People who have experienced abuse or trauma are also prone to rumination. This is because they are constantly reliving the event and trying to make sense of it.
Those with anxiety or depression are also at risk for ruminating. This is because they tend to have negative thoughts about themselves and their lives, which they can’t seem to stop thinking about.
How to break the rumination cycle
If you find yourself stuck in a cycle of rumination, there are a few things you can do to break out of it.
Try to become aware of when you are ruminating. It’s important to catch yourself before you get too deep into it, in order to increase your chances of redirecting your thoughts. This can be done by focusing on something else, such as a hobby or interest.
Find ways of distracting yourself when the ruminating thoughts begin. This can be anything from listening to music to going for a walk. Call a friend and have a chat, or find a funny show on Netflix. The goal is to find something that will take your mind off of the negative thoughts.
It’s also important to challenge the ruminating thoughts. Ask yourself if there is evidence for the thought, and whether it’s helpful or harmful. If it’s harmful, then try to come up with a more positive way of thinking about the situation.
If you are a perfectionist, it is important to learn to accept your mistakes and imperfections. By setting excessively high standards or practically unachievable goals , you are setting yourself up for failure. It’s important to remember that everyone makes mistakes and that it is impossible to get it right each and every single time.
If you have experienced abuse or trauma, it is important to seek professional help in order to deal with the event in a healthy way. Work on identifying your triggers and finding healthy coping mechanisms. This will help you to avoid ruminating on the event. You will then be able to begin the process of healing and move on from what happened.
If you have anxiety or depression, it is important to seek professional help in order to deal with your condition. You could try cognitive behavioural therapy, which is effective in treating both anxiety and depression, as well as breaking the rumination cycle.
Work on your self-esteem and inner monologue. If you find yourself thinking negative thoughts about yourself, try to counter them with positive ones. For example, if you are thinking “I’m such a failure,” try to say to yourself “I am doing my best.” It will take time and practice, but eventually, it will start to come naturally and you will no longer need to think about it.
Lastly, it’s important to be patient with yourself. Rumination is a difficult habit to break, but it is possible. Just keep working at it and eventually you will get there.
For Further Reading:
The following are some posts you might find useful if you struggle with anxiety.
- Relationship Anxiety: What It Is, What Causes It, and How to Overcome It
- How to Overcome Anxiety with Simple Grounding Techniques
- Driving Anxiety: How you can overcome the phobia of driving
- Pet Separation Anxiety: The Human-Animal Bond in Two Studies
- How to Help Your Child Overcome Social Anxiety: What You Need to Know
- 20 Affirmations to Calm Anxiety and Improve Your Life
- Anxiety vs. Depression: How to Tell the Difference and Get Help
- Anxiety and Heart Disease in Men: What you need to know
- Spinner Rings – a natural way to reduce stress and anxiety
- Music To Heal Anxiety – The Best Songs to Listen to When You Are Anxious
- Managing Anxiety and How to Stop It from Ruining Your Life
- How to Manage Anxiety and Stress with a Mindfulness Practice
- What to Say to a Friend with Anxiety Instead of ‘Don’t Stress’
- Inspirational Quotes about Overcoming Anxiety
- Everything You Need to Know About Self-Soothing
- The Danger of Being a Perfectionist: Why You Need to Let Go
- Getting Out of a Rut: Tips for Breaking out of Your Comfort Zone
- Interoception: the hidden sense that shapes wellbeing
- How to Control Anxiety in the Face of War: Tips for Coping
- Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD): Everything You Need to Know
- Gardening – A Fun and Healthy Way to Lower Stress, Anxiety and Depression
- How to break the rumination cycle
- 11 Steps to Coping with Climate Anxiety: What You Need to Know
- Acupuncture for Anxiety – How does it work and why does it help?
- Mindfulness Puzzles: How to Reduce Stress and Relax with Adult Puzzles
- 11 Ways to Stop Comfort Eating and Cope Better with Stress
- How to help Employees Deal with Anxiety in the Workplace
- Suffering From Anxiety Attacks? Symptoms and 10 Ways to Calm Down
- Separation Anxiety in Adults – How to Overcome Separation Anxiety as an Adult
- The Answer to the Question “Is There Such a Thing as Good Anxiety?”
- A Comprehensive Guide to Different Types of Anxiety Disorders
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links. When you use one of my affiliate links, the company compensates me. At no additional cost to you, I’ll earn a commission, which helps me run this blog and keep my in-depth content free of charge for all my readers.