If you’re like most people, you’ve spent a day unable to get your mind off of something. Maybe something unfair happened to you, or you worried about a future event. The human brain is inclined towards obsession, trying to find meaning from a stressful situation. While this is a normal phenomenon, it can easily turn toxic. When obsessing turns into a negative cycle where you’re replaying the same thoughts over and over again, it turns into rumination.

What is Rumination?

Rumination is a psychological term that refers to when you cannot stop thinking the same negative thoughts. You might feel “stuck,” like your mind can’t move on. Rumination is a concern because it’s associated with a higher risk of depression and anxiety. It makes sense: if you can’t escape your negative thought patterns, you struggle more to combat them, leading to depressive episodes that are longer, more severe, and more frequent.

How to Stop Ruminating

Given the negative impact of rumination, many people are concerned with how to stop it. Fortunately, there are strategies you can implement to ease rumination in your life.

Set a Time Limit

Trying to completely stop rumination is unrealistic, but you can set some structure around it to help ease its impact. While venting to your friends and family can be helpful for some situations, be mindful that this can lead to further frustration on your part, and can create an unhealthy dynamic with your loved one. If you’re seeking help from friends, set a time limit for how long you’re going to talk about this topic, and then focus on a solution. For topics that require more unpacking, it’s best to talk with a licensed therapist instead of asking your friend to play that role for you.

Set Boundaries

“Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” This phrase encapsulates the importance of boundaries. If someone has wronged you, instead of focusing on what they did, think about what you can do to prevent it from happening again. What can you learn from this situation? Where might you have said “no” or removed yourself from the situation earlier? This allows you to let go of being hurt and gain understanding from the experience.

If you are struggling with rumination, you may benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy in Palatine. Contact New Transitions Counseling Center to connect with a skilled and experienced therapist today.