Have you ever replayed an argument or negative situation over and over in your head, unable to let go, get to the bottom of it or simply just stop thinking about it? You are ruminating. Psychologists believe that this behaviour pattern is seriously detrimental our health and we need to stop it. Like most habits, it’s easier said than done, of course.
That record that is stuck in your mind, playing over and over, retracting your past mistakes or an unhappy situation can turn into obsession and this thought pattern is associated with a variety of common negative behaviours and conditions including anxiety, bingeing and depression.
Some people will attempt to forget by over-drinking or eating and the ironic thing this is: such behaviour can cause more negative thoughts, creating a never-ending, never-winning cycle of negativity. It’s a form of self-sabotage.
The BBC Lab UK and the University of Liverpool undertook a study into Rumination in 2013 and revealed it is the biggest predictor of the most common mental health problems in the UK.
32,827 people from 172 countries took part in the online stress test making it the biggest study of its kind ever undertaken in the UK.
Peter Kinderman, who led the study and a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Liverpool told the BBC,”We found that people who didn’t ruminate or blame themselves for their difficulties had much lower levels of depression and anxiety, even if they’d experienced many negative events in their lives.”
Rumination brings on a feeling of lack of control in one’s life. It can paralyse your problem-solving skills though some do believe it helps them to get to the bottom of issues by continuously searching for the answers.
So, how to stop this negative behaviour? Psychologists across the internet agree on these three important changes to your bad habit.
1. Get the Neg Spray Out. Force those negative thoughts out and replace with a positive thought – any thought. Get used to doing this and it will become a healthy habit.
2. Get Active. Sports, meditation, baking – any activity so long as it forces you to concentrate your thoughts on something else. Kill off your ruminations by getting physical.
3. Problem-solve. Instead of asking ‘why me?’ Think clearly, try to identify one thing you can do to overcome the issue you are ruminating about and put it into action. Turn your ruminations into active problem-solving.
photo credit: Jewel Diamond Taylor. WordPress