How to Stop Ruminating Thoughts That Bring You Down

We can use positive reappraisalto think about the silver linings and good things about the situation. Or, we can use negative reappraisalto downplay the negatives in the situation. By reframing the situation, we get to take back some control over how our mind is thinking.

There are many other creative ideas that can work for you. Choose an activity that you enjoy so you don’t get bored and start thinking your ruminative thoughts again. Whether you’ve just started experiencing these repetitive thoughts or ruminations or you’ve been dealing with them for a while, there are a few key tools that can help you manage your mind. Thoughts such as this are common and may have worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. Saying “That’s not how it happened” serves as a course correction that can steer you out of rumination and into better thought patterns. It hushes the mental arguments you have with the physical person you were just arguing with, and stops you from rewriting the past into something worse.

So, before you go deep into your next “would have, should have, could have” spiral, give one or more of these ideas a go. When your thoughts are ruminating, you’ve got to get them out of your head and onto paper. Writing your ruminating thoughts in a journal will allow you to see your train of thought, challenge your thoughts, and question their validity. When we have dealing with rumination thoughts, it’s easy to get lost in them. However, when we write down the thoughts as they happen, we can start to poke holes in them or share them with a therapist who will help you challenge those thoughts. Showing someone your thought journal will help you get the opposite feedback that your mind tells you so that you can stop ruminating thoughts for good.

It’s easier said than done, but learning to let go is one of the most important steps to take if you want to stop rumination and ease your restless mind. If you are constantly ruminating on something that happened, imagine the worst case scenario and how you would deal with it. Niggling worries often remain at the back of your mind, always there but never given your full attention. By dedicating time to whatever it is that’s bothering you, it’ll be easier to face the problem once and for all. If you find that your mind is fixated on a certain situation, ask yourself if the dwelling is actually worth your time.

Ruminating over the past, present, or future is common and happens to everyone at one time or another. But when it occurs frequently, it can harm your mental health and well-being. Identifying these conditions or characteristics can help you understand your rumination better. Discovering underlying causes may also help determine if talking with a mental health professional might be beneficial.

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