Rumination: when thoughts enter a loop
The thoughts They appear in our mind and can control our mood and our behavior. Sometimes, some thoughts take over our mind and begin to go round and round without stopping. These recurring thoughts, they are usually obsessive, they take control of our brain and do not let us think clearly about things, affecting our emotions and our actions. This type of thinking is what is known as rumination.
The process of thinking ruminations
Surely all of us at some point have had thoughts in our mind that have gone round and round without stopping. For example, after a discussion we can spend hours thinking about what we said and what they said. These thoughts are normal, our mind tends to focus on what it considers a conflict and tries to find the way or the solution.
The problem is that sometimes, in that search of the road, we go around and around and enter a loop. After going around so many times, we get entangled more and more, and get lost in our own thoughts. In these cases not only do we not find the solution, but thoughts can become strong and become beliefs that we turn into absolute truths. These beliefs often generate negative emotions, and can alter our behavior, in addition to having effects on our health, from insomnia, anxiety, depression, etc. This type of recurrent thought is an obsessive type of thinking and is known as rumination.
What are ruminations?
The ruminations are harmful thoughts, which take over our mind, appearing recurrently. They are thoughts that appear again and again in our brain and overflow us, generating frustration.
How do ruminations appear?
1. The ruminations appear in response to a harmful situation, to some facts that we have not been able to process, such as a discussion, a mistake in the work, an exam, etc.
2. The situation generates an uncertainty that entails discomfort, usually unresolved situations, before which our mind is active as it anticipates a possible threat.
3. The mind starts to respond to that apparent threat (sometimes it has not even happened), and you have the need to find a solution. The harmful thoughts appear as a search for a solution, the mind can not leave without solving the situation and the person feels the need to think about it.
4. A feeling of frustration and discomfort appears, and in turn a desire to stop thinking about it.
5. Both needs to think about it and not to think about it, they confront each other and we enter a loop of harmful thoughts from which it is not always easy to leave. The ruminations can come to dominate our mind, and therefore our emotions and our actions.
How can we face the ruminations?
The ruminations only get stuck in our thoughts and generate discomfort, and with that they become an obstacle to the solution. It is very important to face these ruminations before they take over.
- Be aware that the ruminations do not help usOn the contrary, they become our enemies.
- Sometimes the rumination, we have a distorted view of reality. Learn to question those thoughts and try to dismantle them.
- Practice relaxation. Is about learn to leave your mind blank and focus on our bodily sensations, and our emotions. To get away from harmful thoughts, it is very good to leave the mind blank, without thoughts.
- Learn to recognize the beginning of harmful thoughts and cut them before they become a rumination.
- In some cases it can be very helpful consult with a specialist to learn how to manage ruminations.
Celia Rodríguez Ruiz. Clinical health psychologist. Specialist in pedagogy and child and youth psychology. Director of Educa and Learn. Author of the collection Stimulate Reading and Writing Processes.