What is rumination in depression? And, more importantly, how does rumination cause depression?
Rumination is dwelling on negative thoughts and incidents, and replaying them over and over in you head, in a way that keeps you feeling bad, anxious, and depressed.
So to get out of depression and remain depression-free, it’s very important that you stop ruminating, if it’s something that you currently do.
Right now, you’re going to learn how to do that the easy way, so that you find it no big deal to let go of negative thoughts and change your thinking.
How do I stop ruminating?
To make it easier for you to stop ruminating, it’s helpful for you to understand why you do it in the first place.
If you ruminate a lot, you are not “cursed”, and you don’t have a disorder that makes you think negatively instead of positively. On the contrary, your mind is working just fine, and it’s bringing thoughts and incidents to your attention that it thinks are important for you to consider.
For example, if you find yourself repeatedly thinking “I’m depressed” and “I have no friends”, then your mind thinks it’s important for you to think those thoughts and address them! And this is why the thoughts are naturally on your mind.
So to stop ruminating, you’ve got to teach your mind why it’s not important to brings those types of negative thoughts to your attention, and why you’re much better off not even thinking those kinds of thoughts at all.
Is it wrong to ruminate?
There is nothing wrong with ruminating and dwelling on negative thoughts like “I am depressed”, since this can be a perfectly valid way of thinking about things.
However, it’s important to appreciate that there is nothing right about ruminating, either, since you can always think in other valid ways. For example, instead of thinking “I am depressed”, it’s also valid to think “I can eliminate depression”.
The idea, here, is that just like it’s perfectly valid to see a glass as half empty or half full, it’s perfectly valid to dwell on negative things that make you miserable and depressed, or to dwell on more positive things that make you feel happier and depression-free.
The difference is that dwelling on more positive things makes your life better in ever way, so it’s just a smarter, more sensible, and more beneficial thing to do, every way you look at it.
What if negative thoughts are true?
Many people struggle with rumination because they think their negative thoughts are true, and therefore important and worth remembering.
To illustrate this, let’s say you tell me “I have no friends”, and I tell you to stop thinking this negative thought. If you respond with “But it’s true”, then this implies that you somehow think this thought is noteworthy and important, just because it’s true!
Unfortunately, when you think that true means important and worth remembering, then your mind will automatically bring all sorts of negative thoughts to your attention that it finds to be true. So you will naturally find yourself ruminating and struggling with depression and anxiety.
To resolve this, appreciate right now that even if something is true, that does not mean that it is important and worth remembering.
For example, the negative thoughts “I’m depressed” and “I have no friends” might be true. But they are not important or worth remembering, because they make your life worse just by thinking them.
On the other hand, the more positive thoughts “I can get rid of depression” and “I can make friends” are also true. In contrast, these positive thoughts are important and worth remembering, because they make your life better just by thinking them.
How to quit ruminating the easy way
As you have learned, rumination is neither right nor wrong. Instead, it’s useless and counter-productive, which makes it of no value to you whatsoever.
So right now, appreciate that there is never a good reason to ruminate and dwell on negative thoughts that make you depressed, even if they are valid or true. After all, you can just as easily think in valid, true ways that benefit you, instead.
This crystal clear understanding naturally helps your mind to stop ruminating, since it grasps that there is no value in bringing negative thoughts to your attention.
Furthermore, once you achieve this understanding, it’s much easier for you to replace negative thoughts with more positive thoughts, since your mind is already prepared to be fully cooperative with this type of a beneficial change in thinking.
This means that if you are using the Negative Thinking Buster to change your thinking (or changing your thoughts in some other way), you will find it much easier to do.
And by finding it easier to replace negative thinking with positive thinking, you naturally find it easier to become and remain depression-free.
You are here:
Section 5 Lessons:
- How to get rid of negative thoughts and depression
- How to stop ruminating & dwelling on negative thoughts
- Can omega 3 help with depression?
- How does sunlight affect depression?
- Can exercise help depression?
- Does social interaction help depression?
- Is sleep good for depression?