Person sitting on top of mountain ruminating

5 Things To Do When You Feel Yourself Ruminating

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Last Updated on December 28, 2023 by Samantha Flores

Everyone ruminates from time to time. But if you find yourself constantly returning to the same thoughts over and over again, it could be a sign that you need to take action. Going through negative feelings and reprocessing them isn’t always helpful, particularly if you’re doing it alone without professional help. Ruminating can take away from the joys of life.

5 Things To Do If You Are Ruminating

If you are someone prone to rumination, it can be helpful to draw up an action plan so you can alleviate symptoms when you notice them. The following are some of the things you can try.

Question Your Narrative

One approach is to simply question your narrative. Asking yourself whether your thoughts are helpful can be a better way to support a more balanced approach. 

Being critical of your rumination helps to break it down and lets you see it for what it is: something that is hurting you. Often, people who experience trauma believe that the best approach to prevent something similar from happening again is to constantly review it in their minds. However, this approach often simply makes the problem worse and lowers your quality of life further. 

Challenge The Self-Talk

As part of this, you might consider challenging self-talk. You might question how likely it is that a negative event would occur again in the future or whether your self-criticisms are justified. You might also practice exploring your positive qualities more.

Being kinder to yourself and practicing things like self-compassion can be extremely helpful when you’re feeling low or keep revisiting the same thoughts over and over again. 

Engage In New Activities

When you find yourself ruminating, you can also explore engaging in new activities that help you get through the worst of it. For example, you could: 

  • Meditate
  • Practice deep breathing
  • Use progressive muscle relaxation
  • Focus more on your faith
  • Engage with something in your immediate surroundings

When you do these things, they help bring you back into the present moment instead of thinking about what could or might happen. You stop focusing on the past or future and begin considering the present more. 

Take Action

Another tactic is to take direct action and change things about your life that could be holding you back or preventing you from recovering from mental health issues in the way that you’d like.

For instance, you could try going to a trauma expert, seeking support from a therapist, or asking people who have succeeded in dealing with their rumination what they did to get over it. 

Limit Social Media

Some people find that limiting social media usage is also beneficial. Cutting down on triggering images and writing can help reduce the amount of trauma you experience and, therefore, the ruminating that follows. 

If you do use social media, be mindful of the content you consume. Don’t feel like you have to engage with posts unless you feel them having a positive impact on your difficult emotions or stress levels.

Try exploring new activities, like journaling or spending time in nature that can help you avoid the negativity and experience more of the joy that life has to offer.