It is prevalent in modern culture to overthink and become stressed over things that are only happening in our minds.
Sometimes we experience a condition that is difficult to process, and often, we are simultaneously attempting to process multiple situations at once. It can be complicated to separate our minds and reactions from experiences that we go through as individuals or in relationships.
Because we often experience emotional overwhelm, we can sometimes stuff our thoughts and feelings away for another day. But instead of processing them later, they get lodged in our bodies and psyche and remain unresolved. Alternatively, many people can’t cope with the overwhelm by letting go instead of ruminating their feelings.
What Is Rumination
Rumination is when we allow our thoughts to spin in our minds, almost as if they are on repeat, without any sense of control over what we are thinking or how it affects us.
Rumination is an exhausting experience for most people because it is a sort of “groundhog day” mentality where the same thought circle around the mind over and over again. If the thoughts circulating in your mind are harmful, destructive, or pessimistic, you will experience incredible stress, sadness, depression, or anxiety.
It is also possible to ruminate around positive thoughts, as experienced in excessive thinking over a new love infatuation or an upcoming job opportunity. In these instances, the thought itself is positive, but the rumination as a process is draining. It’s rather destructive than constructive if it drains our energy or prevents us from experiencing openness and curiosity.
When we are open to the creativity of life and can bring curiosity to experiences, it can bring an openness to mind and allow for unique opportunities to come forth. But, when we are narrow-minded and stick in ruminating thoughts or over-identification with an inevitable outcome, we can experience extreme overwhelms when things don’t go as planned.
Clinging to a mindset that’s not serving us is detrimental to the energy levels and to the ability to enjoy life as it is currently occurring.
The mind can be a trickster, so identifying thoughts and patterns is a significant first step in stopping ruminating thoughts. When we give attention to the mind, it is called mindfulness.
Mindfulness is the first step in changing mental behaviors and habits.
When you learn to identify rumination, it is possible to begin to change the mind’s behavior through attentiveness. When we recognize rumination, we can offer a new perspective by inviting curiosity and optimism and grounding ourselves back into our bodies.
When you wish to bring some space to the thoughts, it is essential to breathe, put your feet on the ground, get into nature, go for a walk, or participate in the exercise. Sometimes getting the heart rate up and getting active can calm the thoughts for a while and bring a break that will allow for clarity.
When we take the time to honor ourselves by engaging in an activity other than dwelling in our mind, we can allow the body to bring forth a new message that is more clear than what we were experiencing in a spinning and stressed-out mind.
1. Distractions – Distractions can help break the cycle of ruminating. Here are some ideas:
- Watch TV
- Read a book
- Call someone
2. Action Plan and Taking Action – When negative thoughts take over your mind, instead of just thinking about them, make an action plan for how you will address the problem. Then follow through on the action plan.
3. Investigate – When you are puzzled by negative thoughts and obsessing, consider if the thought is sensical. Get perspective on it.
4. Meditation – Meditation clears the mind and invokes deep calm and peace to the mind. Essentially you can use meditation to wipe clean those nagging thoughts entirely and break the cycle of rumination.
IF Nothing Works; Get Therapy
If ruminating thoughts are a constant problem, then consider speaking with a licensed mental health professional. They are trained to help you identify the core issues, so you work through the reasons behind rumination and solve the problem once and for all.
If you are not sure what mindfulness is and how it be incorporated in your daily life take my 5-day mindfulness challenge that will guide you through simple actions you can take each day to increase both your peace and mindfulness.