How To Stop Overthinking Everything, According To Therapists

“The word is derived from how cows digest their food. Cows chew, swallow, regurgitate, then chew again. This works well for cows but what humans chew over is our distressing thoughts. Ruminating therefore means to brood over upsetting thoughts by replaying them in our mind.”

While many problems are resolved by giving them careful thought and deliberation, Weherenberg explains that “Rumination is repetitive thinking – going over and over the same thought or problem without any resolution. A problem does not get solved: it intensifies by ruminating on it. It is simply repeating thoughts without mentally moving to a new perspective.”

As Winch describes it, “Ruminative thoughts are, by definition, intrusive. They pop into our minds unbidden and they tend to linger, especially when the thought is about something really upsetting or distressing.”

“Replaying distressing thoughts is like picking at emotional scabs because it brings up the distress each time we have the thought, and floods our body with stress hormones as a result,” says Winch.

“Rumination becomes a habit of thought. It is a challenge to shift to another thought. A person who believes, ‘If I just think about it long enough I will figure it out,’ is making a mistake. The more habitual the thought, the harder it is to break it.”

Journal to get the thoughts out of your head. It might seem strange to give these thoughts more time in the spotlight, but I often tell ruminating clients to journal their thoughts.

Weherenberg recommends reclaiming order by making a blanket rule to interrupt your unneeded thoughts whenever they come up, and plan ahead for a positive thought to switch to.

This article was summarized automatically with AI / Article-Σ ™/ BuildR BOT™.

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