reducing rumination – it’s not scary or difficult!

If you’re like me, when something really bothers you, you ruminate on it for an unhealthy amount of time.  You may even think to yourself “this isn’t normal.

This happens to me, too, and I’m working on refocusing my energy instead of ruminating.

What is rumination?

Rumination is essentially overthinking and nit-picking something specific. For example, people with anxiety will ruminate on their anxieties often. In normal-person terms, it’s like if you have a test tomorrow and that’s literally all you can think about. Even once you’ve studied. Even while at dinner with friends. You feel like you can’t stop thinking about it. It’s obsessive.

What does rumination lead to?

For me, rumination leads to spiraling. And quickly. Like into panic-, end-of-the-world mode. Which, then, of course can lead to a depressed state because you feel so bad about not only what you were ruminating about but the fact that that rumination wasn’t normal. It’s exhausting. I go to bed – if I can even sleep – mad, MAD, exhausted, sad, crying.

That’s what we don’t want to happen, right?

So here’s *my* solution…

Here’s a solution I came up with in therapy: a rumination journal.

Ok, quick caveat though – I asterisked the *my* in this heading because this technique helped *me*. A huge part of therapy is trying a million different coping techniques to see which work for you, which actually stick, which you HATE. Thus, this is *my* (perhaps band-aidbutthat’snotthepoint) solution.

A rumination journal: A BABY journal (3 x 5 inches, so like an index card). This journal goes with me throughout the day and when I find myself ruminating, I force myself to write down that thought. However, it’s not only when I’m ruminating. It’s really just whatever I want. A lot of it is what I’m worried about, insecure about, questioning, or feel dumb about thinking. Here are some REAL LIFE examples:

  • my photos aren’t like Instagram girls’ photos
  • what makes me feel the worst: the future/jobs, food/being hungry/not knowing what to eat [Blog-writing Molly: THIS was an EVENT]
  • Prozac
  • group project ruined day. This is not fair. this is my final final group project ever! [Blog-writing Molly: This night was a huge rumination EVENT for me]
  • pimple
  • interview professor
  • All I really gotta do is live and die
  • Boundaries
  • a lot to do – where to start?

Fun, right? Now I clearly picked examples I felt comfortable enough sharing, but you get the point. Sometimes I write more in-depth. Sometimes I’m super negative. And sometimes I do “talk backs,” meaning I talk back to myself and tell myself why those thoughts are dysfunctional.

But I don’t force myself to make my rumination journal a talk back journal. Know why? That’s a turn-off! Truly. If I’m ruminating, I probably don’t want to think positively. So if I know that when I write down my thoughts I also have to be positive about it, I’m not going to write them down. Goodbye, rumi journal!

Anyway – the idea, which I should’ve said sooner, is to write what you’re ruminating or thinking about, then either 1. talk back or 2. put it away. As in, put it physically and therefore mentally away. Can’t think about it anymore! I already wrote it down and put it away.

Now you try!

You try it. What about just creating Notes in the notes app? Texting yourself during rumination? God damn it, just get a 60-cent pen+gear memo book from Walmart. (Of course, consider buying local first but I digress.)

Refocused n not ruminating!


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