Ways to stop ruminating

Worried People 1

By Pedro Ribeiro Simões from Lisboa, Portugal (Worried and solitarian) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

In one of my previous posts I had talked about ruminating and how it can just make things worse and more stressful for you when you indulge in it too much. In this post I am going to be discussing methods you can use to stop yourself from ruminating. I would like to point out that since everyone is different and what one ruminates over is different for everybody there is a chance that some of these methods may not work for you, but don’t worry; if one way doesn’t work there are still others. So without thinking too much about it, let’s get into it.

First let us consult this article called “8 Tips to Help Stop Ruminating” by Lauren Feiner, PsyD posted on psychcentral.com. To sum it up this is how they say you can stop ruminating.

  • Identify what you are scared of: The idea behind this one is that if you realise what you are afraid of, you can work towards solving it.
  • Think about the worst case scenario: I don’t agree with this one because more often than not I would ruminate and obsess over the worst case scenario and that would get me more stressed, but that’s just me.
  • Let go of what you can’t control: This one can be pretty hard sometimes, the human mind can be very stubborn and will latch on to things it has no business latching on to and once that happens letting go can be very difficult. For example, as a person suffering from OCD, letting go is very hard, when my OCD first manifested itself, letting go was impossible for me. As time has passed and after many sessions of therapy it has become somewhat easier. There are still some things I have a hard time letting go of but it is better than before.
  • Look at mistakes as learning opportunities: This one requires a positive mind-set and the realisation that mistakes will always happen but life still goes on. It is sad when a mistake does happen and depending on the mistake you might need time to process it, but once you are done processing, it is time to look at your mistake and figure out how to not make the same mistake again instead of just ruminating about it.
  • Take a worry break: Sometimes it is important to experience the feelings that are going through you, even the bad ones. If you really need to then try taking out 20 to 30 minutes of your schedule to think about and worry about the things you are scared of. Sometimes a little poison is needed for a cure. Don’t do it too often, or for too long though or you’ll just reverse any good that might come out of this exercise.
  • Mindfulness: This basically means to be aware of the present and your surroundings. Don’t get so caught up in your worries that you forget that there is a world around you and a life waiting for you; take some time to remember the world and get to know where you are.
  • Exercise: A little exercise can go a long way, even if it is just a 10 minute walk.
  • Therapy: You can’t do everything by yourself and sometimes you need professional help. If your ruminating is getting in the way of your normal everyday life then you might seriously need to consider some therapy; it will help you out in long run, believe me.

Next up let’s look at “Four Tips from Habit Research to Reduce Worry and Rumination”  by Edward R Watkins Ph. D., posted on psychologytoday.com. Here are the ways they say you should use to stop ruminating.

  • Change your goals, beliefs, attitudes and intentions.
  • Be aware of the things (cues) that cause you to ruminate, try keeping a dairy for it.
  • If possible, change or remove these cues.
  • Instead of ruminating, practice an alternative more helpful response to the habitual cue; this may differ depending upon the cue and the situation.

I suggest reading the full article for yourself to learn more.

Well that’s it for this post; hopefully this has helped you find ways to stop ruminating or at the very least has decreased the amount you ruminate. If you need help remember that there is no shame in that and also remember that you are not alone.

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