Dwelling on negative thoughts too much?
Self-reflection can be a good thing at times, but it becomes a cause of concern when it goes out of control, repetitive, and can’t be stopped. Ever feel like your mind running endlessly like hamsters trapped in a wheel of emotional pain but going nowhere? You might be expressing rumination.
American Psychological Association describes rumination as “obsessional thinking involving excessive, repetitive thoughts or themes that interfere with other forms of mental activity.” Rumination is a vicious cycle where an individual replays the same troubling, distressing memories, scenes, feelings, and emotions over and over again.
Rumination has a tendency to deepen whatever emotional pain or agony you already feel about something. Rumination and sadness are linked and form the vicious cycle. Rumination causes sadness and the sadder you are stronger the urge to ruminate occurs. This forms the vicious cycle of rumination. It can affect your mental health negatively. It poses threat to your psychological as well as physical health. Alcohol abuse, eating disorder, impaired problem solving, increased likelihood of depression and great risk for cardiovascular disease are some negative impacts of rumination. It causes various problems such as disfiguring your perceptions, damaging your mood, and fostering negative thinking and this leads to a risk of developing clinical depression.
Rumination is found to be a common feature of various psychiatric syndromes such as social anxiety disorder, eating disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and depression. It doesn’t help in providing any new understanding that could help you heal your wounds. It can be understood as scratching your emotional scabs. It serves only to pick your scabs and infect them again. You also need to understand that rumination is not the same as worry.
Rumination can be summed up as sustained processing of anything negative. It is a movie focused on the present or past.
Rumination can be stopped as it can be treated. It can be managed in a number of ways, some of them are:
You have a natural tendency to analyze painful experiences by using visual perspective when you go over any painful experience in your mind. You tend to analyze your painful experience from a self-immersed perspective. It has been observed that when you analyze a painful experience from a self- distance perspective i.e., third-person perspective, you see yourself from an outsider point of view. This outsider point of view helps you to reconstruct your understanding of the experience and new insights are generated by reinterpreting.
Exercise to stop rumination: - -Firstly, sit or lie comfortably and then close your eyes
- Now, recall the opening snapshot of the scene or the experience that is disturbing you
- Now, zoom out so that you can see yourself within the scene, or if the scene involved 2 locations (example, if you were on the phone) imagine a split screen so you see both yourself and the other person or locale
-After seeing yourself within the scene, zoom out even further so you can watch the scene unfold from an even greater distance
- Lastly, allow the scene to unfold as you observe it from afar as if you were a stranger who happened to pass by as it occurred.
This exercise will help in reducing depressive and angry ruminations. It is also effective in restoring impaired intellectual and mental functioning.
Reframing the event in your mind is one of the most effective strategies for regulating emotions such as anger. Reframing the event helps in changing its meaning to one that is less infuriating. The process of reformulation of a new interpretation of the event to a more positive interpretation helps you in changing your underlying feeling about the situation to one that is less enraging.
In spite of the fact that your ruminations are unique to your specific circumstances, certain themes and principles are common to a lot of reframing situations. Using the following suggestions can help identify ways to reframe a situation so that it evokes less anger (or sadness).
Find the positive intention
A lot of people who cause you to ruminate in anger have some redeeming qualities and characteristics. And these people might mean well regardless of the impact their words or actions have on you. Identifying these bits of good can help you view the situation in a different manner and modify the intensity of your emotions as a result.
Embrace the learning moment
Usually, there is a lot you can learn from the situations that evoke your ruminations. You can learn valuable lessons that will boost your confidence and save you from future heartache and emotional distress by:
Identifying mistakes that you have made and ones you wish to avoid in the future,
Viewing negative situations as strategic puzzles that call for creative solutions,
Learning who you can count on and who you cannot,
Discovering your strengths, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities.
Reframing anger is effective for:
reducing anger and anger focused ruminations,
reducing the intensity of other emotionally painful ruminations,
restoring impaired intellectual and mental functioning,
reducing physiological stress responses.
Psychologists as mental health care providers play a major role in understanding biological, behavioral, and social factors that influence mental health and physical wellbeing. Dr. (Prof) R K Suri, the Senior Clinical Psychologist at Psychowellness Center ( https://www.psychowellnesscenter.com/ ), is a trained professional clinical psychologist, having more than 36 years of experience in all kinds of mental health issues and related therapeutic interventions.
Furthermore, TalkToAngel online mental health services under him put your needs first. They can help you with flexible appointments, personalized and customized intervention plans all at the tip of your fingers.
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