HOW DO I STOP THINKING OF THINGS OVER AND OVER - LIKE A GEAR STICK THAT REFUSES TO SHIFT? SEE IF THESE HELP YOU. MANY PEOPLE DO THIS - IT MAY HELP YOU TO KNOW THAT.
Tips to Help You Stop Ruminating
By Erica Cirino from Healthline.Com
What is rumination?
Has your head ever been filled with one single thought, or a string of thoughts, that just keep repeating… and repeating… and repeating themselves?
The process of continuously thinking about the same thoughts, which tend to be sad or dark, is called rumination.
A habit of rumination can be dangerous to your mental health, as it can extend or intensify depression as well as impair your ability to think and process emotions. It may also cause you to feel isolated and can, in reality, push people away.
People ruminate for a variety of reasons. According to the American Psychological Association, some common reasons for rumination include:
- belief that by ruminating, you’ll gain insight into your life or a problem
- having a history of emotional or physical trauma
- facing ongoing stressors that can’t be controlled
Ruminating is also common in people who possess certain personality characteristics, which include perfectionism, neuroticism, and an excessive focus on one’s relationships with others.
You might have a tendency to overvalue your relationships with others so much that you’ll make large personal sacrifices to maintain your relationships, even if they’re not working for you.
Once you get stuck in a ruminating thought cycle, it can be hard to get out of it. If you do enter a cycle of such thoughts, it’s important to stop them as quickly as possible to prevent them from becoming more intense.
As when a ball is rolling downhill, it’s easier to stop the ruminating thoughts when they first start rolling and have less speed than when they’ve gathered speed over time.
So, what can you do to stop these obsessive thoughts from running through your mind?
Here are 10 tips to try when you begin to experience the same thought, or set of thoughts, swirling around your head:
1. Distract yourself
When you realize you’re starting to ruminate, finding a distraction can break your thought cycle. Look around you, quickly choose something else to do, and don’t give it a second thought. Consider:
- calling a friend or family member
- doing chores around your house
- watching a movie
- drawing a picture
- reading a book
- walking around your neighborhood
2. Plan to take action
Instead of repeating the same negative thought over and over again, take that thought and make a plan to take action to address it.
In your head, outline each step you need to take to address the problem, or write it down on a piece of paper. Be as specific as possible and also realistic with your expectations.
Doing this will disrupt your rumination. It will also help you move forward in the attempt to get a negative thought out of your head once and for all.
3. Take action
Once you’ve outlined a plan of action to address your ruminating thoughts, take one small step to address the issue. Refer to the plan you made to solve the problem you’ve been obsessing over.
Move forward with each step slowly and incrementally until your mind is put at ease.
4. Question your thoughts
We often ruminate when we think we’ve made a major mistake or when something traumatic has happened to us that we feel responsible for.
If you start ruminating on a troubling thought, try putting your repetitive thought in perspective.
Thinking more about how your troubling thought might not be accurate may help you stop ruminating because you realize the thought makes little sense.
5. Readjust your life’s goals
Perfectionism and unrealistic goal setting can lead to rumination. If you set goals that are unrealistic, you may start to focus on why and how you haven’t reached a goal, or what you should have done to reach it.
Setting more realistic goals that you’re capable of achieving can reduce the risks of overthinking your own actions.
6. Work on enhancing your self-esteem
Many people who ruminate report difficulties with self-esteem. In fact, lack of self-esteem can be associated with increased rumination. It’s also been linked with increased risk of depression.
Enhancement of self-esteem can be accomplished in many ways. For instance, building on existing strengths can add to a sense of mastery, which can enhance self-esteem.
Some people may choose to work on the enhancement of self-esteem in psychotherapy. As you enhance your self-esteem, self-efficacy may also be enhanced. You may find that you’re better able to control rumination.
7. Try meditation
Meditating can reduce rumination because it involves clearing your mind to arrive at an emotionally calm state.
When you find yourself with a repeating loop of thoughts in your mind, seek out a quiet space. Sit down, breathe deeply, and focus on nothing but breathing.
8. Understand your triggers
Each time you find yourself ruminating, make a mental note of the situation you’re in. This includes where you are, what time of day it is, who’s around you (if anyone), and what you’ve been doing that day.
Developing ways to avoid or manage these triggers can reduce your rumination.
9. Talk to a friend
Ruminating thoughts can make you feel isolated. Talking about your thoughts with a friend who can offer an outside perspective may help break the cycle.
Be sure to speak with a friend who can give you that perspective rather than ruminate with you.
10. Try therapy
If your ruminating thoughts are taking over your life, you may want to consider therapy. A therapist can help you identify why you’re ruminating and how to address the problems at their core.
If you’re a long-time ruminator who wants to bring an end to your repetitive negative thoughts, here are some simple changes you can make to your life that can help do just that:
- Be proactive in trying to solve your problems. First identify problems in your life and then start taking actions to solve your problems, one step at a time
- Set your own expectations. Negative ruminating thoughts can creep in when we question our self-worth. Praise yourself for your successes and forgive yourself for your mistakes. Constantly work on building your self-esteem by taking care of yourself and doing things you enjoy and excel at.
- Create a support system. Having friends and family members, and maybe even a therapist, any of whom you can call on for help when something goes wrong or when you’re having a bad day, is so important. These special people may distract you from your ruminating thoughts and are also likely to boost your self-esteem.
If you’re a ruminator, it’s important to know some tips that may help you to stop your thought cycle in its tracks before it spirals out of control.
It’s also important to be proactive and take steps to prevent yourself from ruminating in the first place.
With awareness and some lifestyle changes, it’s possible to free yourself from ruminating thoughts. If you find that you’re unable to use these tips to help your rumination, you should consider contacting a mental health professional for assistance.
Research Reveals a New Way to Stop Ruminating – What We Can Learn From Nature
By Diane Dreher Ph.D. – Psychology Today
Is there a voice in your head filled with incessant criticism and worry, pressuring you into chronic stress, to do more, work more, buy more—anything to silence the inner critic? If so, you’re not alone.
I’ve heard this voice for years. Lots of people do, and we’ve all tried different ways to silence it. Janet blocks it with workaholic behavior. When she’s absorbed in her work, rushing to meet a deadline, she can’t hear the voice. Carol blocks it with compulsive caretaking, cramming her schedule with other people’s needs, rushing through her days in a blur of activity until finally collapsing in exhaustion. Joe blocks the voice with technology, incessantly texting, checking Facebook, and surfing the Internet, while his brother Jim and his college roommates try drowning out the voice with binge drinking. Jon Kabat-Zinn (2013) calls such distractions the “doing mode.” But this incessant “doing” only blocks the inner critic temporarily. The moment we stop, the rumination starts up again with a vengeance. And studies have found that rumination is a risk factor for anxiety and depression (Bratman et al, 2015).
The good news is that simply walking in nature can silence the inner critic and improve our health. In recent research at Stanford University, Gregory Bratman and his colleagues conducted an experiment with 38 healthy men and women, working professionals in their mid-twenties. They were randomly assigned to a 90-minute walk—either down the El Camino Real in Palo Alto, a busy multi-lane road with heavy traffic, or on a path along the rolling hills around Stanford, with views of oak trees, shrubs, and sky. Each group filled out surveys to measure rumination as well as having brain scans before and after the 90-minute walk.
Remarkably, the group that walked out in nature had significantly lower rumination and decreased activity in the subgenual prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain associated with negative self-referential thought and feeling. While previous research has shown that exercise can improve mood and decrease depression (Rethorst & Trivedi, 2010), both groups in the Stanford study engaged in similar physical exercise for the same length of time, but only the nature group showed the decrease in rumination and corresponding decreased activity in the related region of the brain.
Nature restores and heals us. Many of us feel more relaxed and renewed after walking outside or gardening. As far back as the Middle Ages, philosophers and poets have written about the restorative effects of nature (Dreher, 2001). Today, research has begun to reveal why. The natural world offers a healthy alternative to the stressors in our busy lives, restoring our energies and renewing our minds. The next time you find yourself stressed out or assaulted by the inner critic, try stepping outside, taking a deep breath, and looking at the trees, the hills, and the sky.
There is sometimes a health condition called OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) that is causing 'Unwanted Thoughts' to recycle and not give one peace, in some people. And I'd like to place another Post close to this one with some natural solutions for that, to improve things. For now, don't be quick to think you have that because you probably don't. Why not give these Tips above a try and see what works best for you. Hey?
You may benefit from another Post I have on this Website:
It's good to bring children up with Emotional Intelligence - it gives them good resilience for life. Many of us have missed out on that but it isn't too late to learn. Emotional Intelligence is a Life Skill whereby we can experience healthy emotions like how to handle things and interpret things - even how we react or respond. It is becoming a necessary life skill in this day and age and is also a good way of cutting down on rumination - don't let that sap up your physical and mental energy or your confidence with life or people........NO.......don't give it mental real estate, it's just not worth your time. If allowed to run rampant, it becomes very destructive, that can lead to certain health issues (mental and physical). With Emotional Intelligence Skills, you can 'Nip things in the bud' so much easier, so they affect you much less.
All the best to you Friends!