Round and Round

What's got you going round and round?

Do you find yourself revisiting the same thoughts over and over again?

Thoughts that are not helping you, but hurting you?

If so, its possible you are ruminating. To ruminate means: to go over in the mind repeatedly and often casually or slowly. (Websters) It is the "relentless thinking focused on one's negative feelings and problems"(Aytekin Tank)

Rumination robs you of joy, interferes with your problem-solving ability, makes one feel isolated, pushes people away, & causes toxic physical effects. It's like a Ferris wheel that keeps spinning in your head. Its a partner to FEAR (see Jan. 7th post for techniques for overcoming fear) and it is NOT YOUR FRIEND.

Most times, people ruminate because they feel vulnerable about the future. It worries, agonizes, replays, dwells, convinces, compares, rehearses, blinds you and obsesses. All of these things seem very active, but really they are not. It prevents you from moving forward and growing.

How does one get off the circular thought pattern?

Step One: Acknowledge it for what it is: self-defeating.

Step Two: Regulate your emotions by meditating. Take some time to breathe deeply. When we are ruminating, we may have accompanying anxiety, which causes rapid, shallow, breathing. Slow your breathing down, think about things that are true, things that bring you comfort, things that bring you joy. If possible, get up and exercise. Exercise will decrease the stress hormones and release positive ones.

Step Three: Make a mental note of when these ruminations happen. (Who's around you? What proceeded the thoughts? etc) We'll consider these your triggers and we will want to manage them better.

Step Four: Make a plan to actively solve the problem. Small steps at a time and do the next thing. You can call a friend or a coach and have them process a plan with you. Just remember, rumination is not active, it is passive, so we want to develop a plan to actively solve the issue at hand and then do it.

Taking back your thoughts will give you confidence and keep you from living in the past or the future. It's empowering and you have a choice.