Ruminating thoughts are different than just sorting through problems to find a solution. Rumination is not a healthy option.

Yes, I fall into ruminating and negative thoughts all the time. When you struggle with mental illness, it’s easy to do this sometimes.

Unfortunately, rumination is not a healthy thing to do. When you sit around and run scenarios through your head over and over, you never really come to a viable solution. And if you do reach a solution, it’s been built off more worry than logic.

Are ruminating thoughts our brain’s fault?

The thing is, ruminating on things and having worrying thoughts are fueled a great deal by the memory. We may remember how something went wrong in the past, recognize an approaching similar situation, and start to ruminate about how we’re going to deal with the issue.

This rumination, most times, upsets us. If the past situation was negative, then stress will set in and make us think even more about the near future. In a way, imprints on our brains do have an impact on how we ruminate about things right now. But the good news is we can learn how to deal with them.

A few types of ruminating thoughts:

1. Thinking too much and too hard

Sometimes rumination comes in the form of unorganized thought. You can start with one thought which leads to another and so on. Most of the time, you’re thinking about chores or errands which must be completed. Unfortunately, instead of things getting done, you sit for hours thinking about it.

How can we deal with this?

For heaven’s sake, just put on those brakes. Think about one thing at a time, do what you need to do, and then think about the next project. Meditation usually helps with organizing thoughts and changing ruminations that cause mind traffic jams. If you’re not familiar with meditation, now’s the time.

2. Making assumptions

Some ruminating thoughts are born from making assumptions about things that could be going on. For instance, just because you think someone is ignoring you, say they haven’t called in a while, doesn’t mean it’s true. And just because a friend answered in an angry tone doesn’t mean they’re angry with you.

After things like this happen, we often ruminate about our friends and acquaintances, and we wonder if something we’ve done is the problem. Thus, we make assumptions that may not even be true. We can make ourselves depressed for no reason at all.

How can we deal with this?

Well, the best way to deal with these sorts of thoughts is to keep in mind that you are not the center of the universe. Not everything going on is about you. Sorry to break it to you like that, but it’s true.

Your friends could be dealing with serious issues or having fights with other people, so be calm and just give it some time. Your assumption could be wrong.

3. Thoughts of expectations

Before you go out with your head held high, or with your head hanging low, think about how you’re using expectations. Ruminating and certain thought patterns cause unreal expectations to form.

Say you need a loan, and you believe you’re qualified, well, don’t go running to the bank thinking you got this loan in the bag. I made this mistake a few weeks ago. My credit was good and I had high expectations on the outcome. Unfortunately, I was turned down anyway.

The same goes for people. You shouldn’t sit around and ruminate on the high expectations you have for your wife or girlfriend. They might just let you down, and that will be depressing.

How can we deal with this?

Never put anyone or anything on a pedestal, and they won’t fall down. It’s as simple as that. Don’t think of your bank as “your buddy” just because you’ve lived in town for 20 years. If you aren’t qualified for a loan, you’re just not qualified.

As for people, no one is perfect, stop trying to create perfect boyfriends and friends. Find someone you can deal with or just lower your expectations. They’re probably way too high anyway.

4. Sitting around focusing on the negative

Many positive and negative things happen every day. But isn’t it strange how we focus so much more on the negative? A person can complete 15 positive tasks in one day and have two negative setbacks. Even though the positives outweigh the negative, the ruminating thoughts will focus on those two negative situations.

Many people sit around and think about one or two bad things that happened during their day, and then proclaim the day as a failure. How do you think the dread of Mondays began?

How can we deal with this?

It’s really hard to focus on positive things when you’ve been trained or raised to think negatively most of the time. There are people who just always think of the glass half empty and not half full.

If you’re one of those people, practice considering that the best will come out of a day instead of the worst, and celebrate those two positive things instead of giving so much time to the bad.

5. Knowing the future

Another type of ruminating that can take over your thoughts is thinking you know the future. Have you ever just sat by yourself and thought about how bad an event was going to be?

For some reason, someone you don’t like was going to be there, or last year’s event bombed, you know, something of the sort. Well, you’ve decided you’re a bonafide psychic, and you can read the future.

Ruminating is just torturing yourself with your “abilities”. Now, the truth is, no one knows the future, even if the same thing has happened for 50 years straight. Guess what, a change could occur in the 51st year. Now, that’s a fact.

How can we deal with this?

Just stop! You don’t know what will happen tomorrow and neither do I. So what, last years event was horrible. That doesn’t mean that this year won’t be the year that things go much better. You don’t know what will happen and you don’t know what people are going to do. Despite the past, the future has its own choice.

Challenging your way of thinking

Let me tell you, losing those ruminating thoughts is like starting your life all over from childhood. You have to retrain the way you think. It’s about your mindset.

It takes time to make such a large turnaround, but it can be done. Little by little your thoughts will start to take on a different form, and you won’t even believe what your own mind is thinking.

Am I in the process of working on this too? Why yes I am. Most of the things I write about are things I suffer from as well. No better example to help you get better and realize you’re not alone.



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This Post Has 7 Comments


    Very informative, thanks

  2. Don

    I do this about things that bother me from the past.

    1. Sherrie Hurd


      My past has really been on my mind quite a bit lately. It seems like it gets worse every time someone that I love dies. I have many regrets, and yet, I know I cannot change anything. Does it still hurt, yes!

      I will share this, I heard a man last night say this. “You can have all the forgiveness in your heart, and they can forgive you too, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have the right to still feel the pain.”

      That really got to me concerning my past. My past is filled with many great and horrible things. I just only hope that what has occurred in my life, through my writing, can help someone else.

  3. Bouzidi

    Thanks it’s very useful.

    1. Sherrie Hurd

      Thank you for reading, Bouzidi. I wish you well.

  4. Gabriel

    I do it usually as a form of making sense of the world. I have been struggling with accepting myself and anticipating others reaction to my coming out of the closet, ironically, 2 years after doing it and feeling great about it initially. And now every time I see a gay couple out there, if they dont show their affection I assume this must be proof of my assumptions that the world is such a bad place, that my life will be a mess “too” (isnt and wasnt and wont be). Could this be OCD? PS: never faced trauma or abuse related to my romantic orientation.

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