Emerge from Rumination over the Long Run
Although the techniques we have reviewed work in the short run, rumination may return during times of stress or when a crisis comes into your life. Let’s look at some ways to replace the old ruminative pattern with more positive approaches. Adopting these strategies, which will take time and can be learned with the help of a professional therapist, can free you from rumination and help you move to higher ground over time.
Learn to avoid the triggers – You can learn to identify the situations that lead to rumination – and to avoid them. For example, if spending time with a friend leads to overthinking, limit the time you spend with this particular friend.
Let go of unrealistic goals – Learn to assess whether your life goals are realistic or not. Holding on to unrealistic goals drives rumination. But redefining them into goals that can be accomplished realistically can free you from overthinking.
Be gentle with yourself in different ways – Instead of going into ruminative thought when you feel stressed, learn alternate methods. For example, physical exercise, a bubble bath, talking with a trusted friend, nature walks, prayer, or meditation can all be used instead.
Develop your narrative – Reviewing your life and seeing it in a new, whole, and meaningful way can provide insights and different perspectives during times of stress. Working on your narrative with a therapist can lead to a permanent change in how you handle life’s challenges.
Expand your range of activities – Rumination is more probable when our lives are limited. If your work has taken over your life, try doing volunteer work or getting into a hobby in a completely different setting. Or you might consider making new friends.
Define your life in positives, not negatives – Rumination thrives when you see yourselves in negative terms. Learn to change the negative interpretations of your life into positives. Instead of focusing on failures in your life, highlight the successes. This method, in itself, can lead you to the joy and happiness in life that you truly long for.
Dr. Baya Mebarek, Psy.D., LMFT
San Diego Couples and Family Therapy serves the surrounding areas of Sorrento Valley Road as La Jolla, UTC San Diego, Del Mar, Rancho Santa Fe, Rancho Bernardo, Rancho Penasquitos, Poway, University City and Escondido.