What does rumination mean? How do we process rumination when our thoughts are out of control and we cannot stop worrying? Individuals who ruminate, often overthink or obsess about situations or life events. They dwell on intense conversations playing them over in their head. Their thinking becomes “stuck” with one situation or injustice that is happening. Many times they ask themselves, why me? (I am beginning to think I ruminate). I found this word today and decided to look up its meaning. Remember, my last post focused on worrying. Ruminating sometimes becomes about replaying the past over and over looking for a solution. If this is the way you find answers or closure, some portion of the negative happening in your life, rumination becomes a positive thing. However, most of us replay a situation over and over again and even change our thought process, but we still end up at the same destination. We become like the mouse in the maze trying different ways to escape. We have that in common with the rat. Rumination in an indirect manner and can be just like the example of that rat. We think more about events that happen out of our control. Rumination leads to mental health issues including G.A.D. (generalized anxiety disorder).
Let’s take a look at the definition of rumination in our Webster Dictionary.
Webster definition of rumination-1. a deep or considered thought about something. 2. The action or process thinking deeply about something. The action of chewing on the cud.
Daily Wisdom Words definition of rumination-thoughts that begin by thinking intensely, never finding a solution no matter how long you think.
Rumination may also cause you to feel guilty. For example, you might find yourself with these kinds of thoughts: if only I had done XYZ differently. The end result is the same. Rather than being mindful and existing in the present, we dwell on the past instead. Rumination can lead to some types of personality disorders including borderline personality disorder. Remember: The difference with Rumination and worrying is sometimes we worry and arrive at a solution. Rumination does not ever result in a solution; instead, ending with blaming ourselves. What can we do about rumination? First, we must be honest with ourselves. Are we an excessive worrier or a person suffering with rumination, which is more often than not a symptom of something more serious?
Sometimes, the hardest things, are the simplest solved. I will recommend what I have found to be sound research. Psychologist, William Jones said , “the greatest against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” By altering our inner dialogue, better known as “self-talk” can enhance creativity and happiness. Our question is, how do we choose one thought over another?
According to Psychology Today, there are 16 strategies for combating rumination:
- Distract with books, movies, magazines, museums, a busy street or a fast walk.
- repeat the Serenity Prayer by Niebuhr: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I can’t change, change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”
- Repeat a comforting phrase, an affirmation, a prayer, a poem or a song to yourself
- Exercise or walk. Moving your body can move the content in your head. Notice the aspects of nature or humanity that are larger than your conundrum. Try to focus on what is outside of you rather than what is inside you. (Let’s think of this as “physical affirmations”.
- If you are “catastrophing or awfulizing,” think of the horrors you have thought of in the past that never came to fruition. think of the worst thing that ever happened and write down 3 positive outcomes.
- Counting your blessings instead of sheep. According to Composer, Irving Berlin, Research shows a grateful person is a happy person.
- Listen to music that has meaning for you or clean the car with the radio blasting Rolling Stones or whatever song you love.
- Listen to radion programs, tht tell compelling stories about people who have undergone unusual struggles and truimphs. Watch a comedy channel.
- Make arrangements to meet a good friend who can be relied upon to have a sensitive response or make you laugh
- Trade heaviness for lightness even if that somehow feels wrong or unnatural or strange.
- Re-write the narrative. Sometimes if we can find a way to soften the story, minimize the blows, tell ourselves that the injury is really not going to damage us, it restores us to a sense of balance.
- Say, “Don’t thin,, don’t think, don’t think and then do something instead like cook, scrub fix, run, go somewhere and be around others.
- Gear up into high action: Accomplish more than you think you can, want to, or than you even need to. Get five things done instead of three.
- . Think about someone you know suffering; feel compassion for them.
- . Take a boxing class if meditation doesn’t work for you. Wear pink boxing gloves to support breast cancer research.
- Don’t hang out with a demon-filled head! here are 2 more things I thought of: Journal, or garden.
There should be something in the above suggestions that will work for you. When all else fails, and you simply have tried everything, remove it from your hands and place it in the hands of another professional counselor or therapist that can help you deal with this. Thanks so much for reading about rumination today.
My hope and thoughts are with all of us who deal with high anxiety levels which are at the heart of rumination, or the trigger point that push us to this level instead of dealing and coping with better skills, proper grounding, and capable of self-calming despite the situation.
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