Stay away from rumination: Five tips to help you step out of the shadows!

Stay away from rumination: Five tips to help you step out of the shadows!

Stay away from rumination: Five tips to help you step out of the shadows!

Mental Wellness


5  Mins Read

It’s common for us as people to feel self-doubt when we face stress or even setbacks, but the biggest hurdle always seems to be stopping that negative train of thought. It can consume us and make us absent-minded during the day and unable to sleep well at night. We cannot seem to get away from these negative emotions, and so we keep asking ourselves ‘Why am I like this?’

If you resonate with the above struggles, you are likely stuck in a cycle of negative thoughts, also known as Rumination. Rumination can lead to plenty of negative effects on people. Worst of all, if you are trapped in rumination, you will not be able to fix the situation alone, and that can be very harmful to us.

What is rumination?

When we encounter obstacles, our brains will try to address the problem by determining the cause and then use a previous, comparable situation to come up with a similar solution. But this only works if something similar has happened before. If we meet an obstacle that is new and unexpected, our brains will investigate the cause in the same way, but ultimately, will not come up with the answer that we need.

That is when we start to reflect on ourselves, and in turn, blame ourselves, which prevents us from seeking the real solution. When our brains cannot find the answer or the answer is not satisfactory, we repeat the same thought process and fall into the same trappings. This is rumination.

Psychologists discovered that our mindset is actually similar to that of cows. An idea will be created in our heads, only to be dropped the moment we realise it does not work. This idea then floats somewhere deep in our minds until our brain decides to bring it up again, only for us to shut the idea down again, and this process repeats itself, over and over again. Thinking that we had the answers, our brain prepares itself to move on to the next obstacle, only for this vicious cycle to simply repeat itself; making us feel nervous and frustrated in the process.


How to get rid of rumination?

According to a Yale University study, those who show symptoms of rumination are more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They are also more prone to drug and alcohol abuse. To prevent this cycle of negative thinking from brewing and to avoid bringing our spirits down, experts make the following suggestions:

  • Identify the problem: Figure out what you are most fearful of or worried about, as well as what causes you to struggle. The easiest way to purify your thoughts and explore the true thoughts inside your mind is to write a diary to keep track of them.
  • Ask yourself: Try to imagine the worst scenario you could face right now. What are the odds it will happen? Evaluate your ability and resources to deal with the scenario, and share your thoughts with your friends and family to get their opinion as ‘only those outside the frame can see the whole picture’. 
  • Leave it to destiny: Just go with the flow if you cannot control what’s coming, instead of overthinking things. Find some assistance if you are still able to make a difference and plan to achieve your goal by brainstorming or drawing it out.
  • Change your mind: Failure is the mother of success. Take failure as an opportunity to learn and you will improve your way of coping when you relive, reflect and review.
  • Shift your focus: Empty your mind for a short period of time. Try jogging, speed walking, swimming, practicing yoga, or even vipassana meditation. These exercises might help you relax and find inspiration.

This article is provided by Wave Medical Limited.

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