Ruminating Thoughts: Here’s How To Stop Them
“To think too much is a disease.” – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Mulling over past experiences and memories can help you improve your problem-solving skills or help you gain insight into yourself but ruminating on those experiences over and over again can affect your peace of mind.
Rumination means contemplating thought(s) or problem(s) without a break. When a person is depressed or has anxiety, the subject of rumination is usually about being hopeless or insignificant. This repetitive thinking of being insufficient can increase anxiety and deepens depression.
The causes of rumination are various. Some of the common causes could be:
- Believing that by ruminating one will gain insight into the problem
- A history of psychological or physical trauma
- Dealing with stressors that are out of control
We all think things and ruminate on thoughts almost all day but there is a significant difference between healthy ruminating and unhealthy ruminating.
How To Stop Ruminating?
The cycle of ruminating over thoughts can be vicious and difficult to break. It is imperative that you learn to stop the negative thoughts from taking you down by doing some exercises.
Here are some tips on how to stop ruminating:
1.Find a distraction
When you feel like you are starting ruminating thoughts and situations repetitively, find a distraction. Distracting yourself from the negative spiral of thoughts and emotions can be a life-saver. You can try:
- Reading a book
- Learning something new
- Spending time with someone
- Watching a movie
- Listening to music
- Doing household chores
Do whatever you think will help you distract you from ruminating.
2.Make a plan
Instead of repeating the same thought, make a plan of action. Write down the thought that is running through your mind on a piece of paper, outline the steps you can take to tackle the problem, and then take action.
Be specific and realistic with your plan and move at your own pace.
3.Identify your triggers
When you find yourself ruminating, take note of the situation you are in. Identify the possible triggers that cause you to ruminate. Question the what, where, when, and who of the situation.
Form a plan or strategy to either avoid or regulate such situations.
4.Create a vision board
Setting realistic goals for the future can help you stop ruminating on the past. Create a vision board with all that you want to accomplish in the near future and focus on that when you find ruminating.
This will help you focus on what you should do rather than what you did.
Meditation is a very helpful way to lessen rumination as it involves you to sit in a quiet place and clear your mind. Deep breathing exercises, mindfulness, and relaxation exercises can help you find calm.
Call or talk to someone who will help you break down the process and not ruminate with you.
If you feel that rumination is disrupting your daily life, reach out to a therapist or a professional life coach; someone who can help you break this cycle. Getting professional help can help you identify your triggers, analyse your thought process, and find ways to help you sort out the problem.
Breaking the pattern of the rumination process can be a hard job but you need to remember to take one small step at a time. Give yourself some time and set your own pace. Work on building your self-esteem and find a support system of people who will help you address your problems.
If you are a ruminator or someone who obsessively overthinks things, it is important to understand the techniques you can use to keep your thoughts from running rampage.
With the help of the above-mentioned tips and strong willpower to change, it is possible to stop or slow the ruminating. If self-help tips are not helping you, it is recommended that you reach out to a professional mental health care provider for guidance and support.
With lots of practice and patience, it will be within your reach to get a better handle on rumination and with time you’ll be able to lessen the downward spiral of depressive thoughts as well.
Think well, be well!