Everyone at one time or another finds themselves obsessing about a situation that bothers them. Not only do we live a negative experience but we beat ourselves up about it afterwards. This is called rumination- the repetition of the same thought over and over- and it can keep us in a mental rut.
Rumination is associated with anxiety and depression and can have different forms. One type of worrying is catastrophic thinking. This starts with a thought such as “This traffic is going to make me late for work”, then to “I am a terrible employee, I can’t even get to work on time” and spirals to “I am going to be fired.”
A problem with rumination is there is rarely new thoughts or insights on the problem, instead it hijacks our emotions leading to more intense negative thoughts about ourselves.
Here are four ways to put rumination at bay:
- Mindfulness. Be fully present in the moment instead of the past or future.
- Examine your thoughts- are they based in reality or are they distorted?
- Answer ‘what if’s’. If the thought is realistic, what is the worst case scenario? How can you get through that?
- Schedule a few minutes of worry time. When you start ruminating, tell yourself it can wait until that worry time (after all, its unlikely there are new thoughts that you might forget to worry about!)
If ruminating is affecting your quality of life, schedule an appointment with me. I offer teletherapy by phone or videochat. Most insurance companies cover this and it offers more flexibility in appointment times!
Love yourself, you deserve it!