How to Stop Ruminating and Feeling Depressed About Your Life
So, you’ve been feeling a little crazy lately.
You just can’t seem to take your mind off your problems, and the harder you try to shut down your mind, the more it revs up. Pretty soon, you find yourself thinking about worrying about over thinking, which makes you feel even more like a lunatic.
If ruminating, obsessing, and worrying feels like a terribly compulsive habit to you, you’re not alone.
People who struggle with anxiety and depression frequently struggle with overthinking. However, according to research, anxious people who struggle with problems like rumination are actually more intelligent than the general population. So if your thoughts are out of control a little too often, you’re probably a highly intelligent person. While this piece of research doesn’t solve your problems, it can help you to understand why you’re so inclined to get dragged into thought.
What is Rumination?So what is rumination? Rumination can be defined as the habit of constantly identifying with thoughts that play over and over again in the mind, kind of like a broken record. The word “ruminate” comes from the Latin word for chewing cud which is the less-than-genteel habit of cattle which grind up, swallow, regurgitate, and then rechew their food. We’ll explore what “identifying with thoughts” means a little later.
If you want to learn how to stop ruminating, this article will share with you some tried and tested ways to calm your mind and find peace.
Why Do We Ruminate?
According to research, we ruminate for a number of reasons, including:
Types of RuminationDepending on your predisposition, rumination can be:
Remove ads on lonerwolf?
According to one study published in 2008, rumination can be broken down into the following “flavors” (which can be either beneficial or harmful):
Why Exactly Does Ruminating Cause Us to Suffer?Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose. —Eckhart Tolle
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, rumination can be defined as the habit of constantly identifying with thoughts that play over and over again in the mind, kind of like a broken record.
But what does the “identifying with thoughts” bit mean?
The reason why ruminating causes us to suffer so much is that we believe in and attach ourselves to these thoughts, almost automatically.
However, if you have ever explored the origin of your thoughts, you would have discovered that thoughts simply arise from nowhere — they are completely spontaneous! Yet despite the fact that we don’t control our thoughts, we actually believe we are our thoughts.
Here’s a small experiment. Tell me, what will be the next thought in your brain, and the next, and the next, for the next 30 seconds? Can you honestly tell me what all your thoughts will be? No, of course you can’t. Any intelligent person would be able to see that they don’t know where their thoughts come from or what they will be. This, by the way, is why so many people are attracted to practicing meditation: meditation helps you to see that you are not actually your thoughts. Not only that, but you don’t actually have to believe the thoughts that enter your brain.
Did you read that?
You don’t have to believe every thought that enters your brain because they are random fluctuations of energy. YOU are the one that gives meaning to your thoughts and identifies with them. When you stop identifying them, you can see that your thoughts are just like heavy clouds that come and go. They mean no more about you than the weather does.
So if you are not your thoughts because you do not create them, and they are so transient and changeable, who or what are you? You are the space or conscious divine presence beneath your thoughts that observes everything. You can discover this for yourself: what has been with you since your birth that has not and cannot be changed? Your body, personality, DNA, name, gender, thoughts, and feelings can all change … but what remains unchanged?
The reason why ruminating causes us to suffer is because we haven’t found space within our thoughts to witness with clarity our own minds. Instead of seeing the whole ocean we get lost and tossed about in the waves of our thoughts.
In order to learn how to stop ruminating, we need to learn how to break the habit of believing that we are our thoughts.
How to Stop Ruminating and Feeling Miserable About Your Life
Mateo Sol is a prominent psychospiritual counselor and mentor whose work has influenced the lives of thousands of people worldwide. Born into a family with a history of drug addiction, schizophrenia, and mental illness, Mateo Sol was taught about the plight of the human condition from a young age. As a spiritual counselor and mentor, Sol’s mission is to help others experience freedom, wholeness, and peace in any stage of life. See more of his work at lonerwolf.com.