Generally, Rumination is overthinking past incidents. Sometimes it may be everyday matter for someone or serious stuff for another. But usually, rethinking is good for everyone. They can keep in mind most of the things that they need. Meanwhile, some people write down important things, thinking they will be forgotten. Although the students rethink their lessons, they cannot keep them in mind for a long period of time. So, they used to take down notes. But as there was no writing method in ancient times, they used to keep what they wanted in mind. Therefore, there had also been some rethinking patterns in old times.
On the other hand, rethinking is an inherited mental pattern of human beings. Without thinking about the past, humans cannot continue their life. Because they would have forgotten everything that they have to fulfill. Therefore, the brain does this job for us. The brain accumulates information from outside through the five senses: eye, ear, nose, tongue, and body. This is called psychologically, ‘Emotional Process.’ But, at this juncture, we are not going to discuss the rethinking,
but the Rumination or overthinking and the negative effect it can have. It also covers some of the steps you can take to avoid Rumination. There are two kinds of rumination called: reflection and brooding.
According to a definition provided by a mental health institution’s newsletter (Verywell Mind), it depicts as: “Rumination is the mental habit of overthinking about the past. For example,
1. Dwelling on a past mistake.
2. Replying to other people’s offenses against you.
3. Obsess your flaws and weaknesses.
4. While it’s easy for us to slip into Rumination, the negative effects can be severe: depression, low self-esteem, anger issues, insomnia, and substance abuse, to name just a few.
5. But fundamentally, Rumination is a habit.”
According to researchers’ experiments, there is a difference between the two, Rumination and emotional process. Usually, Rumination and emotional processing focus on the emotional surrounding of something or rethinking something. Rumination, however, tends to have a more negative aspect of a situation. They point out a few tendencies regarding the Rumination: focusing on a problem for more than a few idle minutes; feeling worse than you started out feeling; no movement toward accepting and moving on; and no closer to a viable solution. Additionally, they cannot think clearly in this situation, so they show a few signs regarding their mental situation when they ruminate. They often lead to self-blame, guilt, or shame. They need to produce solutions and use insights; they tend to blame others and think negatively.
But in emotional processing people accept the feeling. They have solutions for problems and use insight. While they think positively, they help others. Rumination thoughts are more compelling than normal thoughts or feelings. Normal thoughts are mild, while rumination thoughts are forceful or irritating. Normal thoughts are instant or withdrawn, while rumination thoughts accumulate and get stuck because of craving and aversion. One increases them to anger, phobia, hatred, jealousy, and revenge stuck in mind like tar. Some cannot remove them easily or let them go. Being stuck in minds like tar results in them becoming victims of mental disorders and maintaining them as a habit. Finally, as a result, they are prone to many mental diseases or psychosomatic problems. On the other hand, there are some reasons for Rumination. Some people ruminate from time to time on things because they believe they can solve problems by thinking about them repeatedly. Sometimes trauma or a stressful situation in the present can contribute to Rumination. According to my experience, some clients say they ruminate because they are anxious to do so. So, they start it at one point and go through the whole episode until they get increased cortisol in the brain. Scientists show a few reasons for Rumination: certain personality traits like perfectionism or neuroticism, job loss or a relation- ship breaking up, poor self-esteem, fear of a traumatic event, worrying about upcoming presentations or exams, and worrying about health conditions like chronic illnesses. They name some mental conditions such as anxiety, depression, eating disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Another bad news has been revealed by Mindwell Institute: “A link between Rumination and hypertension. Rumination may prolong the stress response, which increases the negative impact of stress on the heart.” There will be a way to overcome the problem if there is a will.
Rethinking is an inherited mental pattern of human beings.
Pointing out some advice from psychological counseling institutions, they say, “letting go of stress or anger can help with ruminative thinking. And also, dealing with negative emotions can reduce Rumination and the feeling of stress.” With some insight and practice, you can learn to stop overthinking. You can train yourself to let go. Then, you can feel free and fresh and go forward. Another best step to improve ourselves and avoid mistakes is to look honestly at our mistakes and flaws. And while you ruminate, you can find ways to cope with them. You can talk to a friend and get support. Still, too many discussions of the wrong aspects of others can lead to a problem in your relationships, leading to a negative situation rather than finding a solution. So, if you seek support from friends, you can set a time limit on how many minutes you’ll allow yourself to talk about the problems.
Meanwhile, as some therapists believe there is no one way to stop Rumination, they pay attention to a few ways to cope with the problem. So, taking these ideas together will help to reduce it. Firstly, they advise to ‘distinguish healthy reflection from unhealthy Rumination. Secondly, understand the real need your Rumination fills. Thirdly, change your relationship with anger. Fourth, build up your tolerance for helplessness. Following that, clear the true meaning of forgiveness. Fifth, face up to the costs of your Rumination. Sixth, clarify your values. Next, practice being more assertive. Finally, shortcircuit Rumination with the 3Ms. The first M is ‘Move’, which means go for a walk, to a gym, do pushups, or favorite something. Second M is ‘Make’, bake cookies, write a post – just doing something minimal. The last M is ‘Meet’, to re-engage with life, call a friend, text an old buddy, and browse old photos. And a connection with important people. It will be a powerful way to get unstuck from Rumination.
Rumination and emotional processing focus on the emotional surrounding of something or rethinking something.
And I’d like to put the finishing touches to this article by mentioning a few Eastern philosophy techniques. “A person who pays attention to a certain object might arise an account of that object, evil and demeritorious thoughts associated with desire, anger, and bewilderment. Then that one should pay attention to some other object that is associated with what is meritorious.” Secondly, “he should investigate their faults, thinking: Thus, these thoughts are demeritorious, faulty, productive of suffering,” Thirdly, “If not, he should become forgetful and inattentive disregarding those thoughts.” If those methods are not answered, “Then he should pay attention to the origin of the formation of those thoughts.” Again, if those methods are not working, there’s a final way to take action. That’s then he should subdue, press, and torment his mind by his mind, clenching the teeth and pressing the tongue against the palate. To the person who acts according to those methods, evil and demeritorious thoughts associated with attachment, hatred, and bewilderment are diminished and made to disappear. By getting rid of those thoughts, the mind becomes well-established within himself, well-composed, one-pointed, and concentrated.”
Ven Diyapattugama Revatha Thero (B.A., M.A., M.Phil.)
Expert Psychological Counselor and Meditation Instructor Siriwardhanarama Buddha Dhamma College
Mano ̄daya Meditation Center Mano ̄daya Asapuwa (Facebook) Siriwardhanaramaya, Temple Lane, Kollupitiya