How To Stop Ruminating Thoughts

How To Stop Ruminating Thoughts

Rumination has received much research over the past few decades. It is a key factor in the investigation of cognitive sensitivities to depression. Rumination hasn’t been precisely defined. Yet it can be interpreted differently in the context of various ideas. In this blog, we will first define ruminative thoughts and find the answer to how to stop ruminative thoughts in different ways.

Rumination can be defined as The practice of repeatedly pondering the same, frequently gloomy thoughts.

It can be beneficial to engage yourself with profound thought or to consider past, present, or future circumstances to solve difficulties. Additionally, it can assist you in developing the self-awareness required to overcome both great and negative life situations.

Rumination is not generally seen as a mental illness but can coexist with disorders, including obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety, and depression. However, if it occurs frequently or is extremely intense, it can be upsetting and detrimental to your mental health.

You’re not the only person who finds himself obsessively thinking back on events from the past, recent events, or hypothetical future scenarios. A lot of people usually find themselves in ruminating mode. In order to fully understand rumination, it is important to know the causes of rumination.

Causes Of Rumination

There are numerous reasons why people ruminate. The American Psychological Association lists a few typical causes of rumination, such as

  • having experienced physical or mental stress in the past
  • having an anxiety disorder that has not been diagnosed for a long period
  • dealing with constant stressors that are uncontrollable
  • Depression and other health and mental conditions
  • Personality traits such as perfectionism and psychoticism.

As mentioned before, ruminating frequently occurs in individuals with particular personality traits. These traits include psychoticism, perfectionism, and a preoccupation with interpersonal or (romantic) connections.

Moreover, ruminations are possible if you frequently place excessive value on your relationships with other individuals and will go to even great lengths in order to keep them even if they don’t serve you.

How To Stop Ruminating Thoughts

Once you’ve gotten into one, it might be challenging to come out of a ruminating thinking cycle. Whenever you find yourself in a loop of such ideas, breaking them as soon as possible is essential to keep them from intensifying.

It’s simpler to prevent the ruminating ideas when they initially begin with less energy than when they’ve gained speed over time, just like when a ball rolls downward. How to stop ruminative thoughts

What can you do to stop having these intrusive thoughts in your head? Here are some suggestions to consider when you start to have a reoccurring thought or group of ideas in your head

1. Try to get distracted

Finding diversions or distractions can help you stop ruminating once you become aware that you are doing so. Search the things around you, pick something else to do right away, and don’t think twice about it. Examples include –

  • Performing household chores
  • Contacting a friend or relative of the family
  • Creating a visual
  • Watching TV or film 
  • A walk through your area

2. Make A Plan To Act Now

Make a plan to take action on the negative thinking rather than keep thinking the same thing repeatedly. Create a sketch of the steps you must take to solve the issue in your thoughts or your diary. Be clear and grounded in reality as you can when expressing your expectations.

This will stop you from ruminating. It will also enable you to make progress in your quest to banish a negative notion from your mind permanently.

3. Take Action On What You Planned

When you’ve created a strategy for dealing with your ruminating thoughts, start by taking a little action to resolve the problem. Refer to the strategy you developed to deal with the issue you’ve been fixated on. Till your mind is at ease, advance with each action cautiously and steadily.

4. Let Yourself Experience Your Feelings

Unresolved emotions might occasionally trigger ruminating on the past. These could be melancholy over a tragedy or guilt over your part in an earlier incident or circumstance. Rumination is frequently used as a coping mechanism to avoid dealing with unpleasant or painful feelings since it occupies mental space.

Lessening the severity or regularity of intrusive and unwanted thoughts may be achieved by giving oneself permission to experience, understand, and move through unpleasant emotions.

5. Become Rooted In What Is Happening Right Now

Negative thoughts occasionally have the power to revise history and present a dismal picture of what transpired. Decide if your view matches “reality” if you feel mired in a guilt or self-doubt cycle as a result of a prior event.

You have a right to feel whatever and what thing you’re feeling right now. Think about using grounding techniques to help you focus on the present situation and notice your thoughts objectively.

This lessens the need to worry about upcoming activities. Do you, for instance, frequently imagine the worst scenario? If so, it would be beneficial to remember that things frequently go more smoothly than expected.

6. Challenge Your Thoughts

You frequently ruminate when you believe we have committed a serious error or when anything unpleasant occurs to you that you feel responsible for.

If you find yourself dwelling on a troublesome topic, think about putting it in perspective. You may be able to stop ruminating by considering how your worrisome notion may not be real and that it lacks logic.

7. Adjust Your Life’s Goals

Rumination can result from striving for perfection and unattainable goals. If you set unattainable goals, you can find yourself dwelling on the reasons for your failure to achieve them or what you could have done differently.

The risks of overanalyzing your actions can be decreased by setting more achievable, realistic goals.

8. Work On Improving Your Sense Of Self-esteem

Ruminators frequently complain of low self-esteem. More ruminating may be a sign of low self-esteem. Additionally, it has been connected to a higher risk of depression.

A sense of self-esteem can be attained in numerous ways. Building on current strengths, for instance, might increase a sense of accomplishment which can boost self-esteem.

Some persons may decide to focus their psychotherapy sessions on raising their self-esteem. Self-efficacy may increase as you raise your self-esteem. You might discover that your ability to restrain ruminating has improved.

9. Recognize Your Triggers

Keep a mental record of the circumstance you’re in every time you catch yourself ruminating. This includes the time of the day, the place you are in, any nearby people, and your daily activities. Creating strategies to prevent or control these triggers can help you stop ruminating.

10. Practice Meditation

Because meditation includes cleansing your thoughts to achieve an emotionally stable state, it helps lessen ruminating. Look for a calm area when you notice that your thinking is running in a loop. Sit down quietly, then take a few deep breaths, and concentrate just on your breathing.

11. Get Into Your Body And Leave Your Mind Behind

According to studies, short periods of exercise may reduce ruminating and elevate mood in adults who suffer from mental issues, according to Source.

You might also think about doing something like:

  • Go for walking
  • Participating in a hobby
  • Organizing and sanitizing the home
  • Taking part in outdoor fun activities, such as gardening

12. Try To Consult A Therapist

You might want to consider counseling if your ruminating thinking controls your life. You can learn the causes of your ruminating and effective solutions from a therapist.

Some Lifestyle Adjustments For Chronic Ruminators

Here are some easy lifestyle adjustments you may make if you’ve been a chronic ruminator and want to stop your negative thoughts from repeating:

1. Set your standards

When we doubt our worth, unpleasant ruminating emotions can begin to take over. Appreciate yourself for your accomplishments and be kind to yourself when you make a mistake. Always strive to improve your personality by taking care of yourself, engaging in activities you enjoy, and achieving success

2. Try to resolve your difficulties proactively

You should first recognize the issues in your life before beginning to take steps, one by one each time, to address them.

3. Build a network of support

It’s crucial to have close friends, family, and possibly even a psychologist you can turn to for support when issues arise, or you’re having a challenging day. These unique folks will probably make you feel more confident and will be able to divert your attention from the ruminating thoughts.


Rumination has become a crucial concept in analyzing the emergence and maintenance of depressive moods over the past couple of decades.

Ruminating about the past, future, or present is a frequent occurrence that affects everyone occasionally. But if it happens regularly and constantly, it can be detrimental to your physical and mental health. There are tactics you may use to regulate the endless cycle of thoughts running through your head and cut down on ruminating.

Rumination is not typically thought of as a mental illness or problem, but it can coexist with sadness, anxiety, or OCD. Therefore, if you still struggle to get rid of bothersome and repetitive thoughts, think about discussing your worries with a mental health specialist.