How to stop rumination?

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Page last updated: 16/07/2022

This article will show the best ways to stop rumination. Aside from that, the article will explain what rumination is, and what causes rumination to happen.

How to stop rumination?

There are some ways you can stop rumination. Here is what you can do.

Understand why it is happening

You may think that the problem is the thought that you are ruminating about, but what you should consider is if there is a deeper root to it. It can be a mental health condition, or you are expecting too much from yourself.

It is only by identifying the central root of your rumination that you will be able to care for it, be it through a mental health professional, or by developing strategies to deal with your personality traits.

Let yourself feel 

Rumination can be extremely uncomfortable. It can happen at any given time, in any given space, and it can bring up many feelings such as sadness. Because of that, sometimes you may try to suppress it all, and not allow yourself to feel.

But you must let your feelings out. It is only through it that you will be able to process and address your emotions. And by doing so, the intensity of the rumination can decrease.

Differentiate what you can and can’t control 

As you are ruminating about something you may want to ask yourself what you can do about this matter. Understanding what is within your reach, and what is not can help you focus on taking more action on the matter rather than letting your mind take control over you.

Focus on the present 

Rumination can easily lead you back to thoughts, actions, or facts that happened many years ago, or to what will happen in the present. In those cases, it can torment you with guilt over what you should have done, or self-doubt over what you should do in the future.

When that is the case, focusing on what is happening now can help you stop rumination. You can do that by meditating or doing some mindfulness. Those will often help you calm yourself down and allow you to have more self-compassion towards the way you behaved in the past.

But if you are ruminating about things that will happen in the future, grounding yourself and keeping in mind how things have usually worked out for you can help you not surrender to the rumination.

Name your thoughts 

Naming your thoughts, and feelings is a sign you have identified what they are. And when you know that, there is a huge sense that they won’t be as big and terrifying as they were before.

It shows that you know that they exist and that they are real, but it gives you some sense of control since you can decide to give them or not that much attention.

Move your body 

When rumination takes over your mind, it may be important to move your body. Research has shown that by doing so you will take your focus away from rumination, and will also bring many benefits to your mental health.

If you decide to go through this path, you may want to go on a short walk, run, or even do some hiking. But if workouts are not for you, doing something simple as gardening, or cleaning your house will make you active and take you out of that rumination pattern.

Put your thoughts into action 

If you feel that you are dealing with a problem and rumination is taking over you, not taking action on it may only make it worse. Since then you will not only be thinking about the problem but why you are not taking action towards dealing with the problem.

This doesn’t mean you need to rush towards fixing everything, but just that you should try to determine what are your possibilities of actions in that matter. To help you with that you may want to make a list of those possibilities, and brainstorm them. 

Just by doing that you may feel like you are taking a step towards dealing with the problem.

Talk to people

Dealing with rumination can take over all aspects of your life. You can lose perspective of what you should do, or even feel like you are the only one going through this. So by deciding to share this with friends, or family you may come to realize that rumination can happen to every one of us.

Aside from that, it may allow you to talk about what is worrying you, and listen to what your friends have to say about it, which may give you some much-needed perspective on the matter.

What is rumination? 

Rumination is that sensation you get that your head is filled by one single thought. You will feel like this matter just keeps repeating itself constantly in your mind, and those are usually not happy, or positive thoughts.

People tend to ruminate about the negative or sad things that are bothering them. And if that happens too frequently, or too intensely, it may be a sign of a mental health issue, or it can lead you to develop a mental health problem.

That is because rumination can impair you, and not allow you to do things as you would do them before. You may become more isolated, or simply just push people away. You may even have trouble processing your emotions.

What causes rumination?

There are a few things that often cause people to ruminate. It can happen because you may believe that through doing so you will find the answer to a problem, or gain new insight into your life. Having gone through traumatic, or abusive experiences can also lead you to ruminate often. 

As said before, it can happen as a consequence of a mental health issue, such as depression. Or if you feel like you are dealing with something that is making you stressed, and that is possibly beyond your control.

Rumination can also be more common in people with certain personality traits such as perfectionism, or if you are too focused on a relationship. This leads you to often make big sacrifices for the other person or to just keep the relationship at peace.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): How to stop rumination? 

What are the signs and symptoms of rumination? 

Rumination is something that will usually happen to people that have mental health conditions, and when it is too intense it can even make the treatment less intense. Even though most of the symptoms of rumination are similar to symptoms of depression, it is not all rumination that is connected to depression.

When someone is ruminating they will likely start to talk too much about negative situations, or even think about painful events they have been through in their lifetime. They can also experience intense sadness, feel numb, and even become more irritable.

Aside from that, people that are experiencing rumination can also go through mood swings and will have trouble focusing on things. Like people that have depression they can lose interest in things they used to love, and won’t have the motivation to do things. 

It can also affect how they see themselves, so they can feel worthless, as well as hopeless, and helpless. When a person ruminates too much they can become too tired, and their eating and sleeping patterns can change. All those thoughts can become so intense that at some point the person may even have suicidal thoughts.

What is the difference between rumination and emotional processing? 

There is a central difference between rumination and emotional processing. The first often involves negative thought patterns. So when the person tries to handle their emotions about a determined matter, they can get stuck in it, and replay previous events that hurt them. 

But rumination will never be a thought process focused on resolving the matter. Different than that, when you are emotionally processing something, you are usually looking for a solution for it. It is usually a process that generates new behaviors, ways of thinking, and possibilities. 

Can antidepressants cure rumination?

Antidepressants can significantly improve your rumination. Since it is mostly related to depression, as you start your treatment for depression, you can begin to feel your rumination getting better. It can improve your negative thought pattern, and That directly affects your rumination. 

How can I let go of my past and focus on the future? 

If you feel you need to focus more on your future, you may want to look at your past experiences for what you learned from them. Putting your feelings out, be it by talking to people, or writing them out can also be extremely helpful.

If you want to let go of something in your past you should also avoid looking for who is to blame and take a closer look at the present. Getting in touch with the people that are around you can also be extremely helpful, as well as forging others, and even more so yourself.

What mental illnesses can lead to rumination? 

Rumination can be common in many mental illnesses. It is something that will happen to people that are going through anxiety, especially people that are dealing with Obsessive-compulsive Disorder (OCD), and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. 

It is also quite common for people that are struggling with depression. That is because all of those conditions tend to cause the person to have a more negative view of themselves, their life, and what they are going through. And they can easily see themselves stuck on that line of thought.

How can I escape my racing thoughts?

If you want to escape your racing thoughts, the first thing you should do is cognitively distance yourself from the matter. Balancing how your mind tends to always assume the worst with some real data can help you look at things differently.

You should also have a mantra or activity you can do whenever you feel that your thoughts are taking control over you. It can be that you use meditation, mindfulness, or even repeat to yourself how able you are to control them since you have done it before.

Breathing exercises, mindfulness, and meditation can often lead you to focus more on the past than on what your thoughts are saying. You should also try to write down what you are thinking, this will help you externalize your thoughts, but also see them from a different perspective.

Conclusion 

This article centered on showing the best ways for you to stop rumination. It also explained what rumination is, and what causes it to happen.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to write them in the section below.

References

https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-stop-ruminating#tips
https://psychcentral.com/lib/the-what-why-when-and-how-of-detaching-from-loved-ones#what-is-detachment

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