top of page

Ruminating and overthinking

Rumination is the unhealthy pattern of behaviors where we continuously think about something that happened in the past, to the point of seeing negative effects on our health and well-being.

At some point in your life, you may have faced this unhealthy habit or something close to it, worrying obsessively or being stuck in a thought cycle to the point where it affects everything around you.

A habit of rumination can be dangerous to your mental health, as it can prolong or intensify depression as well as impair your ability to think and process emotions. It may also cause you to feel isolated and can push people away.

Once you get stuck in a ruminating thought cycle, it can be hard to get out of it. If you do enter a cycle of such thoughts, it is important to stop them as quickly as possible to prevent them from becoming more intense.

So, what can you do to stop these obsessive thoughts from running through your mind?

You can try these tips when you begin to experience the same thought, or set of thoughts, swirling around your head:

1. Distract yourself

When you realize, you are starting to ruminate, finding a distraction can break your thought cycle. Look around you, and quickly choose something else to do, Consider:

  • calling a friend or family member

  • doing chores around your house

  • watching a movie

  • reading a book

  • walking around your neighbourhood

2. Question your thoughts

If you start ruminating on a troubling thought, try putting your repetitive thought in perspective.

Thinking more about how your troubling thought might not be accurate may help you stop ruminating because you realize the thought makes little sense.

3. Readjust your life’s goal

Perfectionism and unrealistic goal setting can lead to rumination. If you set unrealistic goals, you may start to focus on why and how you have not reached a goal, or what you should have done to reach it.

Setting more realistic goals that you can achieve can reduce the risks of overthinking your actions.

4. Work on enhancing your self-esteem

Many people who ruminate report difficulties with self-esteem. Enhancement of self-esteem can be very important and it can be accomplished in many ways. For instance, building on existing strengths can add to a sense of mastery, which can enhance self-esteem.

You can take the help of psychotherapy to work on your self-esteem. As you enhance your self-esteem, self-efficacy may also be enhanced. You may find that you are better able to control rumination.

5. Try meditation

When you find yourself with a repeating loop of thoughts in your mind, you can sit and meditate. Meditation can reduce rumination because it involves clearing your mind to arrive at an emotionally calm state.

6. Understand your triggers

Each time you find yourself ruminating, make a mental note of the situation you are in. This includes where you are, what time of day it is, who is around you (if anyone), and what you have been doing that day.

Developing ways to avoid or manage these triggers can reduce your rumination.

7. Talk to a friend

Ruminating thoughts can make you feel isolated. Talking about your thoughts with a friend who can offer an outside perspective may help break the cycle. Be sure to speak with a friend who can give you that perspective rather than ruminate with you.

8. Try therapy

If your ruminating thoughts are taking over your life, you may want to consider therapy. A therapist can help you identify why you are ruminating and how to address the problems at their core.

With awareness and lifestyle changes, freeing yourself from ruminating thoughts is possible. If you find that you are unable to use these tips to help your rumination, you should consider contacting a mental health professional for assistance.

4 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

World Mental Health Day is marked every year on October 10 to raise awareness about mental health around the world and to mobilize efforts to support those experiencing mental health issues. The World

bottom of page