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Rumination. Thursday July 13, 2017

My favourite thing - ruminating. Did I say the right thing? Did I say the wrong thing? Was that person a bit 'off' with me today? Does that other person not care about me anymore? Do people like me? Or maybe they just tolerate me? Why hasn't he/she texted me back? Have I upset them? Should I have done this? Should I have done that? Blah blah blah my mind goes, all day long...

Stop! Enough already!

I read somewhere that 'We should try to wear the world as a loose cloak.' I'm not sure where I read this, or who penned it first, but I like this quote. I try very hard sometimes to visualise a colourful cloak billowing behind me. It works for a very short while then the anxiety, worry and yes, rumination, all come flooding back. At this point I feel safer donning Harry Potter's cloak of invisibility.

Around 99 per cent of what I worry about never happens and is purely in my imagination. So how do I stop? Do you ruminate often? How will you stop yourself from ruminating today?

Jane SG
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Molly Thu, Jul 13th 2017 @ 2:24am

Hi Jane, there are no answers for me. It is one of the things I am 'best' at. I am suspicious of people, and automatically think the worst. I even took part in a survey recently and worried what I had said. It didn't matter! But it stayed with me for two days, over and over in my head. However much I try to reason with myself, the gremlin won't go away. Then the thoughts such as 'nobody likes me' 'I am rubbish' and 'nobody cares'. So even though I know 'surveys don't matter' and 'I am not rubbish' and 'people do care' ....and that 'people have their own issues' or 'they are busy with their own stuff' won't sink in to my head even though I know I am being too sensitive! Things that do not seem to bother other people, seem to bother me. I try to get these thoughts out of my head, but they don't go until they decide to go. It is back to the moods.... on a good day, I don't hardly worry at all, then on a bad day, not only does everyone hate me but someone is going to die! (not because I want to kill them I must stress) but that feeling that something so very bad is going to happen. Although it is those small ruminations (that REALLY do NOT matter in life) that annoy me. They do not leave the head, however unwelcome. Meditation is my only suggestion. I try to fly away the bad thoughts and send them off into the sky and hope that a bird does not catch them and come and **** on me ;-) Molly xx

Jane SG Thu, Jul 13th 2017 @ 10:25am

Hi there Molly, thank you for your reply. I could not help but chuckle at you last sentence about the bird..! It is very, very hard isn't it to let go of these thoughts. Thoughts like these bring me more unhappiness than anything else in my life. I find that creating space from people can help but it is not always possible to do this. Plus then I become isolated. I do believe Meditation can help - I never seem to be able to get started with it though. Plus I will tell myself I don't have time! In those brief moments where I stop caring about what others think it is a huge weight lifted and I feel so much better. But then the dark cloud comes calling... xxx

Molly Fri, Jul 14th 2017 @ 1:29am

Thank you for your reply Jane, I am glad I gave you a smile. I have avoided people alot over the last couple of years, and this is one of the reasons why. I cannot bear to 'risk' someone 'tipping me over the edge' by worrying about something I said, something they said, something going wrong etc. I know it is not good to isolate ourselves though, just sometimes seems easier that way! I suppose I am a bit of a perfectionist and want everything to fall into place, although of course life is not like that. Meditation is quite hard to do, I agree, but it is worth taking the time to try, even if it is just for five minutes. I also try and tell myself that the negative thought will go away (usually replaced by another!) Maybe it makes us nicer people as we are in tune with our feelings? One positive way of looking at it :-) M xx

Jane SG Fri, Jul 14th 2017 @ 7:24am

I can identify with trying to be a perfectionist Molly. I want everyone to be ok with me all the time! Impossible! I do believe being sensitive can make one more caring. I sometimes care too much, and get burnt, but ultimately I do see being caring as a positive part of my sensitively and I'm glad you can see that in yourself also. Xxx

LP Thu, Jul 13th 2017 @ 6:01am

Hi Jane,
For those of us who remember what it was like when a record , as in vinyl, was stuck, that's what rumination is like for me. I have had two main types, worrying about whether some one is angry because of me and being angry with someone. Not just anyone, just the 3 or so who cross my boundaries.
Maybe ruminations can be called space invaders! We don't want them there. If affirmations work for people they could be a replacement.
All I can do is flick their switch off and come back to the present. I have this vague image of a comedy hypnotist saying "....and back in the room!" which makes me smile, lightens the mood as well as refocusing me on my surroundings.
Blue skies are back and that always helps me! :)
Thanks for reminding me to be mindful today Jane, good wishes to you and all, LPxx

Jane SG Thu, Jul 13th 2017 @ 10:29am

Back in the room LP!! I love this and I am going to try it. I can also now picture a light sabre to fight off the ruminations...!!! xxx

Silvia Thu, Jul 13th 2017 @ 6:26am

As for me I noticed that rumination is a signal of tiredness. Usually late at night meaning I should go to bed and sleep.

Jane SG Thu, Jul 13th 2017 @ 10:30am

Yes Silvia, thank you- this is absolutely true. I am worse when I am tired and I have learnt to try not to think at all in those moments and go to bed!xx

Linda Thu, Jul 13th 2017 @ 6:34am

Hi Jane,
I ruminated for years it kept me in unbearable misery! It was only during some counselling in the last 3 years that I learned what the name & meaning of rumination was! & I like to class myself as fairly intelligent!!?
Anyway I read a fab book on the subject after a CBT course which by the way was very painful & hard but very very productive because I put the effort in, I am not a lover of the CBT method at all, but if you are determined it does supply a lot of great information on why we think the way we do.
I apologise as I can't remember the name of the book because I passed it on to someone to help them, but I will share my tip that I practice to deal with this. It has even come as a bit of light hearted humour between myself & my husband!
When I ruminate now I throw the thought into a beautiful babbling stream that's set in the countryside with lovely waterfalls & rocks & the thought flows away from me, when I am angry about something or worrying now my husband just looks at me & waves his arm which is his signal for me to throw it away!
I hope fellow moodscope readers who ruminates just tries this method once to see how it works for them-
Lots of luck & good thoughts xx

Jane SG Thu, Jul 13th 2017 @ 10:32am

Hi Linda, thank you for this. I am going to give this a try! I love the image of the beautiful babbling stream. Thank you for taking the time to share this xx

Pablo Thu, Jul 13th 2017 @ 7:41am

I persevere with mindfulness and I also use the 'take the cat off the table and put it on the floor' method too for unwanted thoughts. Rumination and catastrophising are my bugbears when depressed. Love and God bless to you all.

Jane SG Thu, Jul 13th 2017 @ 10:37am

Hi Pablo, yes mindfulness is something else I need to practice more often as I find it can help. I have heard of 'taking the load and putting down at the side of the road' but never 'take the cat off the table!' I like it! xx

Eva Thu, Jul 13th 2017 @ 7:42am

Hi Jane, I started 'noting' a while ago, it's part of a meditation practice, I think it was part of a headspace programme, so for a few days you try to be attentive not to the thoughts that you are having, but the type of thoughts that they are. Now when I trip into ruminating I can catch myself after a short while and just that act of noting and stepping outside the thought stream can be enough to stop it.

The other night I was getting worked up over a mean thing said to me and I couldn't step out of the stream, but I remembered my own advice (on here a week or so ago) to examine the person whom said the mean thing because maybe they were coming from a place of hurt. I sat down with my husband and chatted it over, he gave me his view and we came to the conclusion that the person is actually very self centred, quite immature, her life goals haven't been clear and she's kind of treading water in a less than ideal place and possibly has quite a low self esteem, and her words though still mean suddenly had less meaning and less sting.

So I guess what I am saying is that sometimes noting isn't enough it's just a first step, but it's a valuable tool for me.

Jane SG Thu, Jul 13th 2017 @ 10:40am

Hi Eva, this is very helpful thank you. I agree that taking a bit of time to see where others may be coming from can be helpful. I have tried to do this more over the past 2-3 years and it has greatly improved some of my relations with people. I will try the noting. It may work in a similar way to recognising when I'm really tired - as in my comment to Silvia above. Thanks so much for sharing this. xx

Frankie Thu, Jul 13th 2017 @ 8:19am

Me too - endless ruminating; so exhausting! Darling Hubby's very apt phrase " Strange thoughts in a tired mind" really helps. Also my dear counsellor's phrase "It's only a thought and a thought can be changed" helps me look at things from a more positive perspective. Good luck to everyone today whose inner critic is unbearably active! Frankie

Jane SG Thu, Jul 13th 2017 @ 10:44am

Thanks Frankie. I think I will expand this to 'strange thoughts in a strange tired mind!' for myself. I often think I'm just odd! Although reading that so many others ruminate also reassures me that maybe I'm not as alone with this as I thought! Just wish I could be more like my eldest son and my daughter who just don't worry about hardly anything. It's all water off a duck's back to them! Sadly for my other son, he is more like me! xxx

Sally Thu, Jul 13th 2017 @ 8:50am

Hi Jane,
Someone mentioned counselling. It was certainly useful for me in ridding myself of a lot of the thoughts and ruminations which were tied up with my anxiety. Sharing the thought is often helpful, because ruminating doesn't always produce different answers or viewpoints. Arguing with yourself is fruitless! In a despondent or anxious state , we keep coming up with the same answers.
Sleep, rest, as suggested above, are also helpful, and a change of scenery.
Turn your "Do they like me? " into "Do I like them?" After all, you are the important one here. How do they behave? That's being kinder to yourself.
There are many answers to a question. In rumination, you often provide yourself with very limited answers that don't favour you! Virtual hugs, and thanks for airing that one, Jane.

Jane SG Thu, Jul 13th 2017 @ 10:47am

Thanks Sally! Hugs right back at you! Yes I have regular counselling and it has helped me enormously. A friend of mine also recently pointed out to me that it's not always the speed of a reply to at text that counts, but the quality when the reply comes. This made me think. I have tried though to ask myself who in my life is really worth the effort. xxx

Julie Thu, Jul 13th 2017 @ 8:58am

As Jon Kabat Zinn reminded me in his talk a few weeks ago we believe our thoughts but in fact a lot of them aren't actually true their just this negative chatter that harm us. So I practice CBT and mindfulness which as a combination have helped no end, and I agree with above get enough sleep too.
It's hard work talking back to or ignoring ruminating thoughts but it has been so worth the effort.

Jane SG Thu, Jul 13th 2017 @ 10:49am

Yes so much of what we think just isn't true. I have been proved wrong in my thinking time and time again.And yet I don't seem to learn! I am getting better but still have a way to go. I will try all the techniques suggested here today. Thanks Julie xx

Maurice Thu, Jul 13th 2017 @ 9:15am

Same here. Head was always full of pointless, critical ruminating thoughts. Got so bad that I gave up my perfectly decent job on a whim after working myself up. If I can even get another job again, will have to start back on a much lower position and salary. From someone reasonably intelligent, it's smart, useful thinking this ruminating - NOT!
Although meditating and CBT/counselling can help, at least in the short-term, in the long run this often doesn't last. Because it encourages looking back for a cause, which then causes more ruminating on past events. And the thinking continues.
I'd recommend Lindsey Reed's book "Got It!". You are not your thoughts, and you don't have to believe or follow them, especially if they aren't useful. It is difficult to accept at first but the problem is never the outside world affecting your inner world, it is always your inner world projected onto the outside world, constructing the illusion that X doesn't like me/I did Y wrong/blah blah. You are not a mind-reader (unless you're Uri Geller or someone like that), and have no idea what other people are thinking. In all reality they could be thinking the same negative thoughts about themselves! You are not a powerless victim of the world, but rather you are the controller of your thoughts. Although it is difficult to accept, you have to wrestle back control of your thoughts, and change the way you react to thoughts, and ditch those negative beliefs.

Jane SG Thu, Jul 13th 2017 @ 10:51am

Yes, yes, yes Maurice! I totally agree! Which is why I have taken ownership of my negative thinking and worked hard to try to change it. I will order the book today! Thanks you xx

Orangeblossom Thu, Jul 13th 2017 @ 9:23am

Hi JaneSG. What you recount sounds very familiar. I have been there myself and what has been recommended is mindful meditation. I think that over the year, this has been effective in stilling/silencing the overactive mind.

Jane SG Thu, Jul 13th 2017 @ 10:52am

Hi there Orangeblossom, yes I think both are helpful. I need to establish a better routine where I ensure I make time. I need more time for self care. Thank you xx

Leah Thu, Jul 13th 2017 @ 12:54pm

Jane ,
How long did you ruminate about the topic? Great blog . I worry when I don't worry. I worry I worry too much. I worry that ruminating is a better word than worry. I worry that ruminating sounds more serious than worrying.!
I put my thoughts in a bin as I read some where and worry what sort of bin, bib or small, black or white, plastic or metal.
Thanks xx

Jane SG Thu, Jul 13th 2017 @ 2:54pm

Ha! Actually this one flowed quickly! Any bin for worries is good Leah! :) xxx

Silvia Thu, Jul 13th 2017 @ 5:37pm

"Strange thoughts in a tired mind" Liked it!
It just happened that I am still ruminating about a person. I paid for her service and noticed part of it was not mentioned in the bill. I said to her: I want you to know that I am honest, yes, part of the service is missing. However, before paying the additional fee, I asked about some details. She refused to answer me. Asked again, she said: "I wouldn't charge you because it was my fault, it was you who asked to pay".
Well, if this was true she would give me the discount and also the explanation. So there is an uneasiness for me in dealing with this person. Now what I will do and it is quite effective is the following:
- write about all I remember about our contact. I tried to show kindness,a few times, she refused to acknowledge. She is a very good professional and once I noticed how angry and disappointed she was due a little failure.
- her qualities - there are many. I think she is the best professional available and works with passion. And a good person.
- she may have bad experiences I do not know about, she mentioned something in this area. So far, she is oversensitive and full of pride. As I am about 15 years older than her, have to consider it too. Like Eva said, immature.
- I will think about all the good things she has done for me
And then:
- I will write some guidelines about how to deal with her, things to avoid, things to accept.

Silvia Thu, Jul 13th 2017 @ 5:42pm

Note: English is not my mother toungue, also, my fingers punctuate a phrase as they like, even in my mother toungue!

Jane SG Thu, Jul 13th 2017 @ 9:07pm

Hi Silvia, thank you so much for sharing this. I like the way you thought this through and then came up with some guidelines to deal with this person. It's a very logical approach and I will try this next time someone's behaviour upsets me. By the way, your English is very good! Xxx

Silvia Fri, Jul 14th 2017 @ 6:07am

Thank you, Jane!

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