Rumination: Why Do People Obsess Over Things? - Deepstash
Rumination: Why Do People Obsess Over Things?

Rumination: Why Do People Obsess Over Things?

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Rumination

Rumination

If you're like most people, you've had the experience of obsessing over something stressfull that happend in your day. It may be a problem that replays itself in your mind over and over with no acceptable solution in sight. When these thoughts turn more negative and brooding, that's known as rumination.

Rumination is as stressful as it is common, in that it takes a situation that has already caused stress and magnifies the stress and the importance of the situation in our minds. Rumination also hones in on the feeling of helplessness we may have in our inability to change what has already happened.

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Understanding rumination

Understanding rumination

Rumination is compromised of two separate variables: reflection and brooding.

  • Reflection: The reflection part of rumination can actually be somewhat helpful as reflecting on a problem can lead you to a solution. Also, reflecting on certain events can help you process strong emotions associated with the issue.
  • Brooding: Rumination in general, and brooding in particular, are associated with less proactive behavior and more of a negative mood.

In short, if you find yourself constantly replaying something in your mind and dwelling on the injustice of it all. And you are also likely experiencing some of the negative effects of rumination.

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The negative effects of rumination

Rumination start innocently, it's your mind's attempt to make sense and move on form a frustrating situation. However, rumination can catch you in a circular, self-perpetuating loop of frustration and stress.

It's important to find ways of catching rumination before you get caught up in it and working on handling conflicts in a healthy way.

Rumination can be oddly irresistible and can steal your attention before you even realize that you’re obsessing again. In addition to dividing your attention, however, rumination has several negative effects.

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Stress

Stress

Studies have shown that rumination can raise your cortisol levels, signifying a physical response to stress resulting from rumination

Cortisol is a steroid hormone that regulates a wide range of vital processes throughout the body, including metabolism and the immune response. It also has a very important role in helping the body respond to stress.

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A negative frame of mind

Not suprisingly, rumination is said to have negative effect by producing a more depressed, unhappy mood. Not only is this unpleasent in itself, but from what we know about optimism and pessimism, this brings a whole new set of consequences.

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Less proactive behavior

While people may get into a ruminating frame of mind with the intention of working through the problem and finding a solution, research has shown that excessive rumination is associated with less proactive behavior, higher disengagement from problems, and an even more negative state of mind as a result. That means that rumination can contribute to a downward spiral of negativity.

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Self sabotage

Research has linked rumination with negative coping behaviors, like binge eating. self-sabotaging types of coping behavior can create more stress, prepetuating a negative and destructive cycle.

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Hypertension

Hypertension

A link also has been found between rumination and hypertension. Rumination may prolong the stress response, which increases the negative impact of stress on the heart.

Because of the health risks involved with hypertension, it’s particularly important to combat rumination and find healthy strategies for dealing with stress and staying centered.

Hypertension: high blood pressure

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Overcoming rumination

Overcoming rumination

So why do people obsess over things? It appears that different people obsess over things for different reasons, and some people are more prone to it than others. Some people want to make sense of a situation, but can't seem to understand or accept it, so they keep replaying it.

Some people are trying to solve the problem or prevent similar things from happening in the future, but can't figure out how. And others may just want to feel heard and validated or want to feel justified in absolving themselves of responsibility.

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Establish a time limit

Establish a time limit

It can be helpful to get support and validation from your friends, but too much dissucsion of wrongs perpetrated by other can lead to a dynamic in your relationships that's negative and gossipy and lends to more reinforcement of the frustration of the situation than finding solutions and closure.

If you're seeking support from friends, you can secretly set yourself a time limit on how many minutes you'll allow yourself to devote to talking about the problem and your feelings around it, before focusing on a solution. Then brainstorm solutions with your friend, or on your own in a journal.

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Keep an open mind

It's suggested by more than a few therapists that what really tweaks us in others may be a mere reflection of what we don't accept ourselves.

when you think about what the other person did to make u angry, can you try and draw on a similar experience in yourself to help better appreciate their perspective and the reasons behind what they did?

even if you don't agree with them, can you empathize? forgiveness and letting go can be a great combination for rumination.

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Create boundaries

Create boundaries

Remember the wonderful phrase: "First time, shame on you; the second time, shame on me." It perfectly describes responsibility and the importance of boundaries, it allows you to use each encounter to learn something about yourself and the other person so you can change the way things go in the future.

instead of blaming the other person for hurting you, you come up with solutions that will prevent the same situation from occurring twice. Where might you say no earlier, or protect yourself more in the future? Rather than remaining hurt or angry, come from a place of strength and understanding.

It may take some practice, but you can change your habitual thought patterens.

Such change can transform your experience of stress. It may not happen instantly, but soon you may no longer obsess over things, and experience less emotional stress as a result.

Just remember to be patient with yourself and keep your focus forward, and you'll feel less stress in no time.

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Be conscious

Be conscious

Personal reflection can be a helpful way to process emotions and experiences, but it can be harmful to your mental well-being when it turns into rumination. If you feel like rumination is affecting your state of mind. take these ideas above in to account!

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CURATED BY

rogierhoekstra

I'm passionate about helping people live their best lives. I'm a lifestyle coach and fitness trainer, and I also write and take photographs. Check out the link below for more and follow me on twitter!

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