That’s Mental! – Rumination

Hey friends! Welcome to a new series I’ve decided to name ‘That’s Mental!’ It’s a play on words because I’m hoping this series will be focused on mental health and things surrounding that theme. I AM SO FUNNY. At least that’s what I tell myself in order to sleep better at night.

Today we’re going to talk about rumination. Oh, you haven’t heard that word before? It’s cool, I hadn’t either until a few months ago.

Rumination generally is continuously thinking about things that elicit a sort of negative response. This could be thinking about that embarrassing thing you did 7 years ago in front of the person you liked. Or it could be something like obsessing over the future and allowing yourself to be petrified by things that have yet to happen. I suppose you can ruminate over positive things as well but more often those things won’t have a negative effect on you. (Not to say that it never does because I know that it can!)

Rumination takes you out of the present moment. It keeps you from experiencing things as they happen and, I feel like, it can contribute to feelings of missing out and derealization/depersonalization.

This is something I find that I really struggle with when I’ve run out of things to distract myself with. It also, conveniently, happens at night before I go to sleep. Which causes me to toss and turn and eventually lose sleep over. I mean, who wouldn’t want to experience this, right?

Obviously I’m kidding. So let’s look into ways of preventing this or functioning and focusing despite it.

  1. Distract yourself – I get it. This seems like avoiding the problem but let me put it in better words. Do something better than sit in negativity. If you’re finding yourself stuck in this cycle, decide to do something that will break it. Maybe keep a list of things that you know give you “happy feels” and do one of those. Maybe give someone a gift or go for a walk. Turn on your pump up jams and dance around the house. It can be anything. I suggest Bohemian Rhapsody because I honestly can’t not break out into song when that comes on.
  2. Resolve the issue – This is a bit more abstract. Usually we ruminate on things that have long since happened or haven’t even occurred yet so how can we do this? Take some time to identify a specific problem that is at the heart of this and and get to work. It’s okay to recruit help from a friend if you can’t solve it alone. Maybe you need to practice for your recital, or you need to research something for work. Maybe you need to plan a budget so you don’t overdraft your account again. Brainstorm ideas and make some changes
  3. Be kind to yourself – Sometimes you can’t do either of those options and that’s okay. Allow yourself to feel what you are feeling and understand it will not last forever. Remember where you are now and how you’ve grown. Understand that you are still human and have the potential to learn and better yourself. Label your feelings for what they are and don’t put yourself down for needing to feel them.

And there we have it. There are three things I’ve found to be beneficial when dealing with rumination. Have you experienced this? What do you do to get out of it? Leave your tips and tricks in the comments below!

Here’s a video on mindfulness that I think is killer. In fact, here’s a link to a full playlist of positive psychology videos.

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