What is Excessive Rumination and How to Deal With It?

Rumination is the repetitive and monotonous thinking about your problems leading to more depressive feelings over time. It’s known as a risk factor in depression and anxiety, but sometimes we don’t realize that our own rumination can lead to negative feelings as well. In this article, we’ll share some tips on how to deal with excessive rumination, so you can blow off some steam when you find yourself going round and round in circles.

1. Identify the thoughts that are driving your rumination.

This might be a thought like “I should have done better.” When you identify this thought, then ask yourself: does this thought actually make sense? Is it true? If it’s not true, then you can challenge the thought by asking yourself what evidence there is for and against this thought. If there isn’t any evidence for it, then chances are it’s just a random thought that came into your mind and doesn’t have any real basis in reality.

If there is some evidence for the thought, then ask yourself why this evidence makes sense. Does it really support your belief that you should have done better? Or does the evidence point to something else entirely? For example, if someone says “I should have done better,” but they know they did their best and are proud of themselves for working hard, then maybe there’s no need to worry about whether they did well enough or not!

2. Distract your mind

In a study,  researchers found that cognitive distraction was an effective way of reducing rumination. The study tested the effects of both distracting thoughts and actions on participants’ ability to stop thinking about a specific topic or event.

The researchers found that participants who engaged in distracting thoughts experienced a significant reduction in their tendency to ruminate on a particular topic or event. However, they also found that those who engaged in distracting actions did not experience this same reduction; instead, they found that engaging in distracting actions actually increased their tendency to ruminate even further!

This is why it’s so important to focus on distractions that are mentally stimulating—like reading or listening to music or doing activities you enjoy—instead of those that are physically stimulating (like watching TV) since engaging in these types of distractions could actually make things worse for someone who already has trouble stopping their mind from going over things again and again!

3. Seek out social support as needed

First of all, seeking out social support is a great way to feel less alone and to get a different perspective on your situation. It also helps you develop a sense of community and belonging, which can be important for your mental health.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the negative thoughts in your head, seeking out social support can help you stop ruminating about them. When we’re feeling anxious or depressed, our minds tend to go in circles—and these negative thoughts can make us feel even worse. But when we talk about them with others, it helps us process those feelings and gives us an opportunity to find other ways of dealing with them.

More importantly, when we talk about what’s bothering us with others, we often come up with new solutions or strategies for dealing with those feelings. We might also realize that there are more effective ways of handling our problems than just thinking about them over and over again.

4. Set a time limit for thoughts

The more you think about the cause of your negative feelings, the more intense those feelings become. This is because when we ruminate about negative events, we’re actually strengthening the link between our thoughts and emotions — leading to more rumination in the future.

That’s why setting a time limit for thoughts is important. The idea is simple, if you have a thought that keeps coming back to mind, set an alarm for five minutes and tell yourself that after those five minutes are up, you’ll stop thinking about it.

If you find yourself still thinking about it at the end of those five minutes, set another alarm for five minutes and repeat until you’ve spent 20 minutes doing something else instead of thinking about your problem.

The most important part of this technique is that it has to be easy for you!

5. Write down your thoughts

Writing down your thoughts can help with excessive rumination because it allows you to get your thoughts out onto paper so that they don’t consume your brain space anymore. When people write things down, their brains tend to focus on what they’re doing instead of whatever else may be going through their head at the time. This helps them clear their minds so that they can focus on other things instead of worrying about something that may not even matter anymore!

Once they’re written down, they can be analyzed objectively, you can use words and sentences to describe what’s going on inside you, rather than just feeling it. When we feel our feelings, we tend to react automatically. So we might lash out at someone or cry uncontrollably. 

Contrary, when we’re able to put them into words, though, we can analyze them more thoroughly and make decisions about how we want to proceed based on our best interests rather than whatever emotions are currently dictating our actions.

With this, you should write down anything that’s bothering you or making you feel sad or angry about life in general. Don’t hold back! You’ll feel better once everything has been released onto paper.

6. Get a hobby

A hobby is defined as “an activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure,” so if you have an interest in something outside of your regular routine or job (like art or writing), it’s probably considered a hobby. Hobbies are great because they allow you to escape from the stressors of life and practice skills that might help you later in life.

For example, if you’re interested in writing, pursuing it as a hobby could help you become better at communicating through written words—which could come in handy when applying for jobs. The same goes for any other creative pursuit like painting or music. Nevertheless, these activities can train your brain to think differently than it does during the day.

The important thing is that whatever activity you choose should be something positive—something that makes you happy and helps bring clarity into your life.

7.Identify your triggers

When you know what sets off your rumination and worry, it’s easier to avoid it. You can also tell when you’re starting to feel like your thoughts are spinning out of control, so you can take action before things get too bad.

For example, if you know that a certain person or situation tends to trigger your rumination, avoid them. Or if there is something that always causes you to think about negative things in detail or overthink a situation, try and change your routine so that these things don’t happen as often.

It might take some time for your brain to adjust and learn how not to ruminate anymore, but with practice and patience, it will help!

8. Learn to love yourself

Learning to love yourself is a very important part of self-care. When you don’t love yourself, you can end up ruminating on negative thoughts that aren’t even true. This can lead to depression and anxiety, which can make it hard to sleep and eat well.

Loving yourself also means that you have to be comfortable in your own skin and accept the fact that you are human. Humans are imperfect and will make mistakes. But by learning to accept this fact, we can move past the mistakes we make and focus on making positive changes in our lives moving forward.

More importantly, you are better able to focus on the positive aspects of your life. This makes it easier for you to deal with the negative ones because they won’t seem so overwhelming anymore.

9. Meditate

There are many reasons why meditation is a great practice for anyone looking to improve their mental health. One of the main benefits is that it has the ability to help people deal with the stress they experience in their lives. That’s because meditation can help you become more aware of your thoughts, which in turn makes it easier for you to recognize when you’re engaging in negative thinking patterns. By learning how to recognize these patterns, it becomes much easier for people to start changing them and making positive changes in their lives.

Another benefit of meditation is that it helps people become less reactive when they experience stressors or triggers that make them feel overwhelmed by their emotions. When we’re feeling overwhelmed by something, it’s easy for us to feel like we have no control over our thoughts or actions—but this isn’t true! 

We always have some degree of control over what we think about and how we react when faced with difficult situations or emotions (even if those reactions aren’t always positive). Meditation teaches us how to recognize when we’re feeling stressed out so we can take steps towards dealing with those feelings before they spiral out of control into something bigger than ourselves.

In our increasingly hectic and busy lives, rumination can be a very helpful coping mechanism to have. However, it is also very important to know when you are excessively ruminating and to come up with tools to prevent this from happening. The nine tips listed above are a great place to start if you find yourself ruminating too much.

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