I’d never heard of Rumination before, I thought it was just a me thing, replaying conversations and arguments over and over again…. It was nice to finally put a name to it and realize that I wasn’t alone.
Most of us at some point have obsessed over something that has happened. Maybe someone said something that hit you in the gut, Maybe you had a conversation where you wished you had the perfect come back or maybe you have a problem that you just can’t put to bed.
Whatever it is it can be exhausting, stressful and damaging to our mental health. It stops us from moving on, learning from the experience, and finding solutions. It can also affect our relationships, self-esteem, and productivity. It’s never healthy living in an anxiety bubble, constantly focusing on the negatives unable to find peace and calm.
Fortunately, there are some strategies we can all use to stop us in our tracks…. Let me tell you some.
If you catch yourself thinking about an argument, try to shift your attention to something else that requires your focus and engagement….. Go workout at the gym or go talk to friends and family. Listen to some music or read a book but try to avoid doing simple things that leaves your mind free to wonder back to the argument.
These techniques can help you calm your mind and bring it back to the present.
When you notice your mind focusing on the argument take a deep breath in and all the way out. Notice the sensations that you feel whilst breathing and if your mind starts to wonder away again just try be aware of your thoughts without judging them and gently guide your awareness back to your breathing.
Adjust Your Expectations
Sometimes we ruminate over arguments because we have unrealistic or perfectionist standards for ourselves or others. We may think that we should have handled the situation better, or that the other person should have agreed with us or apologized. These expectations however may not match reality and may only lead to more frustration and disappointment. Understand and accept that everyone makes mistakes and has different opinions so instead of focusing on what went wrong or what could have been different, focus on what you can learn from the experience and how you can improve in the future.
Challenge Your Thoughts
Ruminating over arguments often involves distorted or irrational thoughts that make us feel worse about ourselves or the situation. For example, we may think that we are always wrong, that the other person hates us, or that we will never resolve the conflict. These thoughts are not facts and they do not help us move forward. Try to identify these thoughts and question their validity. Ask yourself if they are based on evidence or assumptions, if they are helpful or harmful, and if there are alternative ways of looking at things.
Sometimes we replay arguments in our head because we feel unresolved or unsatisfied with how they ended. We may want to clear up misunderstandings, express our feelings, apologize, or forgive. If possible and appropriate, try to reach out to the other person and have a constructive conversation where you can both share your perspectives and find common ground.
Set Yourself A Time Limit
Starting to gain control of our thoughts can be difficult when our minds are racing so try to establish some boundaries. Give yourself a time limit where you allow yourself to think about the conversation but when the time is up stop and move on. It’s a great way to learn control.
I hope you enjoyed the blog and found it useful.
I would love to hear from you, so feel free to leave your comments, questions and feedback below