Last week in How to Step Dwelling on Things – Part 1, I talked about what rumination is and the negative effects it has on our mental and emotional well-being. This week I want to talk about what to do about it. After all, we might know a behavior isn’t the best, but if we don’t know how to change it, we’re stuck!
In addition to the problem solving approach I already talked about, here are some ideas of things to try next time you find yourself obsessing about a situation.
Distract Yourself. Sometimes you just need to get your mind on something else. Try doing something enjoyable like reading a book, writing a thank you to someone, doing something active, going outside, or some other hobby you like doing. It can be helpful to make a list ahead of time so that you have already ideas when you need to distract yourself.
Schedule a worry break. Dr. Lauren Feiner recommends actually scheduling 20 to 30 minutes a day to ruminate to help contain it to a specific period of time. At other times of the day, remind yourself that you will have time later to worry and contemplate.
Let go. Once you’ve done your problem-solving on the situation and you’ve figured out what you can control and what you’re doing to do about it…acknowledge what you can’t control and work on letting go of that. No doubt, this is incredibly hard to do, but start by making a choice to let it go—and then keep making that choice every time your mind wanders back to it. If you’re honest with yourself, you’d probably have to admit that you increase and extend your misery by hanging on to things you can’t control.
The good news is that rumination is a thought and behavior pattern that can be changed. It’s a habit, and like any other habit, it takes effort and time to change. But the improvement in your health, happiness and relationships will be worth it!
Do any of these work for you or sound interesting enough to try? What has helped you get over ruminating?