What is Rumination?

What is Rumination?

Rumination refers to repetitively dwelling on negative feelings and thoughts, which can often lead to distress or anxiety. It’s often attributed to various mental health conditions and can often feel like an endless loop that is difficult to break out of.

Rumination has an official definition by the American Psychological Association. It’s described as “obsessional thinking involving excessive, repetitive thoughts or themes that interfere with other forms of mental activity.”

It’s noted as a standard feature of people who have obsessive-compulsive disorder or generalized anxiety disorder.

In this post, we will discuss rumination, its signs, effects, causes, and how to cope.

Signs & Symptoms of Rumination

  • Repetitive thoughts: often intrusive and persistent thoughts about a specific concern.
  • Negative thoughts: usually involving self-criticism from past and current mistakes.
  • Difficulty concentrating: daily tasks may become hard to manage as thoughts interfere with concentration.
  • Physical symptoms, such as headaches and inflammation.

The Effects of Rumination

Rumination can cause a number of negative effects. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Worsening mental health exacerbated by anxiety and depression.
  • Dwelling on problems which slows down thought processes and can cause procrastination.
  • Strained relationships with close friends and family members due to negative or intrusive thoughts.
  • Various physical health impacts can cause short and long-term health issues.
  • Anxiety-related issues such as difficulty sleeping or impulsive behaviors.

Everyone experiences rumination differently, but these are the most common effects that you may experience.

The Causes of Rumination

Rumination occurs for a variety of different reasons. Some of the most common include:

  • Stressful life events that cause trauma or chronic stress.
  • Pre-existing mental health conditions like anxiety or depression can be associated with rumination.
  • A long history of emotional or physical trauma can trigger rumination.
  • Certain personality traits, such as perfectionism or overthinking, can lead to the development of rumination.

Some people may also ruminate as they believe it can help them recover from a difficult or stressful event in their life.

Coping with and Addressing Rumination

Ruminating can be a difficult cycle to break alone, which is why it’s important to seek support from friends, family members, or mental health services. This can help you deal with and stop intrusive thoughts, while also learning more about your mental health situation so that you can undergo the correct treatments and therapy to cope with underlying medical health problems.

Here are a couple of ways to deal with rumination by yourself:

  • Distract yourself with something. This can include hobbies, chores, entertainment, exercise, or social contact.
  • Spending more time away from your home or locations that you associate with anxiety and difficulty, like a home office or workplace.
  • Attempting to figure out life goals and revisiting what truly makes you happy and content in life.
  • Overcoming past negative experiences can also be helpful, especially if you can learn from those experiences to transform them into positive thoughts.

Understanding and addressing rumination is essential for your overall mental health. Recognizing the signs is the first step to recovery.

Rumination & Mental Health Treatment at Peaks Recovery

At Peaks Recovery, we specialize in providing professional, effective support for those who suffer from rumination or anxiety, as well as other types of mental health disorders. We provide tailored treatment programs to help ensure the best outcome for clients, managed in a safe and welcoming environment.

If you think that you or someone you love could be suffering from anxiety or mental health, Peaks Recovery is here to help. Please look closely at our mental health treatments or contact our team for more information. With our help, we can help individuals experiencing addictions overcome them and move forward with their lives. 

Medical Disclaimer: Peaks Recovery Centers uses fact-based content about recovery treatment, addiction medicine, and behavioral health conditions to improve the quality of life for those struggling with drug and alcohol addiction or mental health disorders. This information is not intended to replace professional medical guidance, diagnosis, care, or treatment. This information should not be used as a substitute for advice from a qualified healthcare provider and/or your physician.