Rumination is like a broken record.
Rumination is like a record that’s stuck so it keeps repeating the same part of the song over and over. It’s an endless internal argument. It’s the endless retracing of past mistakes or injuries or injustices. It’s always negative.
In a very real sense, the opposite of rumination is problem solving.
How To Reduce Rumination
Rumination can be reduced by turning towards the smallest of positive thoughts and activities. Any small step away from rumination is a beneficial step in the right direction.
- Going for a walk
- Social activities
Anything which breaks the grip of rumination even briefly is a helpful step away from the negative cycle.
Any Small Step Away From Rumination Is Positive.
Even baby steps count when they’re in the right direction. Any movement towards concrete problem solving helps break the cycle of rumination. Instead of asking why this has happened, or why things like this always happen to me, find just one very small and concrete activity which might help solve the problem of negative rumination.
Think about something you like. Let’s say you like the fact that your team won the recent football game. Encourage yourself to return to thinking about the game, and the team’s excellent coaches, or the team’s star player. Return to these thoughts when you notice you’ve drifted away from them and back into rumination.
Count your blessings no matter how small. Making a written list of your blessings can be even more effective.
Do Something! Solve A Problem No Matter How Small!
Clean out a drawer, or a closet, or your car, or your gym bag. Do anything other than think about all the negative stuff you can dream up or dredge up from the past.
Almost any concrete activity, or positive thought, no matter how small, trumps endless hours of rumination. Even an activity such as making a phone call to a friend to discuss the seemingly hopeless problem can make a difference. The trick is breaking the cycle of internal, broken-record, negative, analytical, critical thinking by moving to a concrete activity, and engaging in the smallest of problem solving steps.
Precise, concrete goals are better than abstract goals! Instead of saying I’m going to get in shape, say I’m going to add three small workouts this week. No matter how small the workout is, doing it counts as a step away from rumination.
What If These Tips Don’t Work?
Unfortunately, rumination is not always easily fixed, particularly when you’re depressed. Maybe that’s because depression is a brain disease, or maybe rumination predisposes people to depression. We’re still figuring this out, but studies are coming up with all sorts of rumination-depression associations.
It’s certain that rumination is a risk factor for depression, but rumination is also a problem strongly associated with depression. We encourage doing whatever you can do, as discussed above, to break the cycle of rumination, but sometimes what you do isn’t enough.
Sometimes breaking the cycle isn’t a do-it-yourself project.
At TMS Augusta we are committed to stamping out depression worldwide beginning in our Georgia backyard. We use the NeuroStar Therapy System, and it’s very effective at dealing with all the problems associated with depression. We love fixing the broken record of rumination.