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How CBT can Treat Rumination

Ever found yourself constantly focusing on something negative? Well, if you have, and often find yourself doing so, you have a problem and that particular problem is called “Rumination”.

To explain it more clearly, rumination is a thought process where you think about the same thing again and again. In other words, you become obsessed with that particular thought. For instance, people who are conscious about their weight often find themselves ruminating over how much they’ve eaten or if they’ve put on weight.

Though it’s good to be mindful, rumination actually ends up having a negative impact because the focus is always in negative aspects. A ruminating person often finds himself/herself concerned over prospective failure and the why and the how of the situation.

As someone who ruminates, you might find yourself thinking about why something happened to you and what you could have done to prevent it.

Rumination basically interferes with your ability to fix an issue. Instead of finding solutions, you are caught in a process trying to find possible explanations for why something happened. The focus is always on the problem, rather than determining a solution.

As a result, nothing good ever comes out of rumination except for obsessive thoughts and maybe, more questions.

On the whole, rumination only makes the situation worse. It does nothing to fix the problem.

Signs of rumination

Rumination can end up consuming you. However, there is good news. You can identify the initial state of rumination and prevent yourself from going into a deeper state. You will need to take steps quickly and effectively in order to end the process right away.

But, before that, here are some of the rumination signs you need to look out for:

  • Getting stuck: Let’s say you are carrying out a task, when all of a sudden, you go into deep thought about certain issues. For instance, you’re supposed to fill out a report, but, find yourself, several minutes later, not having done much work.
  • Slowdown: A slowdown is when you begin to gradually stop doing what you’re supposed to do and instead, end up slipping into rumination.
  • Repetitive: This is when you keep bringing up the same thoughts repeatedly. This happens when the action has been a negative one or one that you regret. For example, the calories you consumed for lunch. If you had eaten a few extra calories for lunch, your mind starts reminding you of your “failure”.
  • The blues: This stage is where people go into peak rumination. Generally, this happens just before going to bed. Many people tend to think about things just before sleep. These thoughts often tend to be negative.

Help through CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) 

To avoid rumination, you need to exercise a few things.

For starters, learn to keep yourself occupied and busy. When busy with an activity, especially an enjoyable or rewarding one, it becomes easier to stop ruminating. The idea is to distract your mind from negative thoughts.

Speaking of healthy distractions, exercise is one way to avoid rumination. When the body is busy, the mind usually tends to join in.

Another technique is to let your thoughts pass away. For this, you will need to imagine your thoughts as images on a screen. Avoid engaging with those thoughts. Just let them pass. Treat them as though they’re like the scenery that you watch from a moving vehicle.

More importantly, understand that thinking about something is never going to solve the problem. If you’ve made a mistake, simply understand and accept that it has been made. The only logical thing you can do is to find a way to fix things and learn from that mistake. There is always a way out, but, it is not rumination.

Also, learn to socialize. When you are busy enjoying an activity with other people, it becomes easier to avoid obsessive thoughts. In social situations, you tend to be more “in the moment”.

These are just a few of the CBT methods that can be used to prevent rumination. If you’re a resident of Toronto who needs more information about CBT in Toronto, contact the Centre for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Toronto, Canada.