Dealing with Rumination

Being someone who prefers to get along well with everyone, I found myself ruminating over the situation I described in yesterday’s post. Despite reassurances from friends that the person in question had behaved poorly, this evening, my mind keeps returning to the matter:

Cycle 1

Ugh! So, just now, I spoke to my dearly beloved about three strategies I’m going to use for the rest of this evening to avoid rumination:

1. Take a reality check. I asked my partner to review the triggering events with me. Easy, and rewarding! He gave me a phrase: “I don’t care.” Love it. Let’s pare this thing back to basics: a person I don’t know, who has no place in my life, was rude to me. Let it go, woman!

The reality check is like a little bomb, disrupting the cycle:

Cycle 2

2. Discipline my thinking. If my mind circles back to that topic again, I’ll consciously acknowledge it, remind myself that I don’t care, and turn my attention to something else. Note that I’m not trying to avoid thinking about it; that’s not helpful, as repression leads to unhelpful expression!

Disciplining my thinking in this way is like turning one arrow in the sequence outwards, breaking the cycle:

Cycle 3

3. Understand the deeper issues. No need to go into details; let’s just say all those years of therapy are paying off!

Holding this insight in my mind helps put the rumination cycle in context:

Cycle 4

Now that’s a much better picture, isn’t it?

As I now look forward to a rumination-free evening, I’d like to throw the question open: how do you cope if your mind keeps going back (and back and back and back) to an unpleasant topic?


Filed under Living Well With Depression

3 responses to “Dealing with Rumination

  1. Ahh, rumination. I ruminate a lot before going to sleep, about things I should’ve done, things I still have to do, and conversations gone wrong throughout the day. I have to constantly remind myself that it’s my time to SLEEP, nothing else, and there’s nothing I can do. Then I set my mind to dreaming, thinking about stories or things I’m looking forward to. It’s good that you’ve figured out this way to break the cycle–negative people aren’t worth your worry! 🙂

    I think the second step you described is most useful to me–consciously turning my thoughts elsewhere whenever something’s bothering me. It’s neat seeing it in a visual format like that, thanks for sharing!


  2. I have an event that my mind occasionally throws at me and I immediately feel everything associated with the said event all over again. In the old days of my christian teachings, I was taught to tell satan to ‘get behind me’. I do this every time that thought comes to mind. And it works.
    I guess it works the same as saying “I don’t care” or “It’s in the past” or anything else like that.

    Liked by 1 person

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