Rumination and Negative mood = TOXIC
The combination of Rumination and Negative mood is toxic. Here is how to deal with this
I want to start today’s article with a passage from Sonja Lyubomirsky’s book “The How Of Happiness”:
“The combination of rumination and negative mood is toxic. Research shows that people who ruminate while sad or distraught are likely to feel besieged, powerless, self-critical, pessimistic, and generally negatively biased. “
I have been struggling with this since I was a little child, and I am 100% sure, especially after reading this book, the how of happiness, that this was a major contributing factor to my unhappiness/depression.
I just could not let go, and to this day, forgiveness is something I am still somewhat struggling with. Work in Progress.
Some people call these symptoms of overthinking and rumination the monkey mind.
When you can’t stop thinking about a negative thought, and you repeat it over and over, sometimes making it more amplified angrier. You get yourself into fictitious conditional: I should have said that to him, or I should have done that. The battle that can never be won. You cannot fight reality. Rumination is so toxic that it can be the predecessor for physical illnesses like cancer or stomach ulcers.
There are solutions that you can apply right now:
Going for a walk is a good one, preferably in nature. Recently, I have been experimenting with cold exposure therapy, taking cold showers, and taking ice baths. When you are in ice, you do not ruminate. Instead, you try to continue breathing, which is all that matters. Your mood elevates instantly.
Going for a swim or a run is also good for the mind. Meditating, of course, helps a great deal. I posted a new guided meditation on youtube today, have a listen here.
Petting your dog is also great, studies have shown. Playing with your baby brings pure joy and more.
“I have found that truly happy people have the capacity to distract and absorb themselves in activities that divert their energies and attention away from dark or anxious ruminations. “
Pema Chodron says something very similar in her cool book titled “The places that scare you”:
“Acknowledging that we are all churned up is the first and most difficult step in any practice. Without compassionate recognition that we are stuck, it’s impossible to liberate ourselves from confusion. ‘Doing something different’ is anything that interrupts our ancient habit of indulging in our emotions. We do anything to cut the strong tendency to spin out… Anything that’s non-habitual will do — even sing and dance or run around the block. We do anything that doesn’t reinforce our crippling habits. The third most difficult practice is to then remember that this is not something we do just once or twice. Interrupting our destructive habits and awakening our heart is the work of a lifetime. “
So remember, the first thing to do? Catch yourself. And then immediately take action into doing one of the activities mentioned earlier so that you get out of it. The sooner you get yourself out of rumination, the easier.
Sonja gives us a last reminder here, and then we can go to our exercises for today:
“If you are someone plagued by ruminations, you are unlikely to become happier before you can break that habit.”