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  • Writer's pictureHeather Keenan, LCSW

5 Tips to Stop Ruminating

Guy is stressed out on his ruminating mind

What is Ruminating?

When we find ourselves ruminating, our mind is preoccupied with repeating thoughts. Whether it is ruminating about the past or the future, it can feel overwhelming and exhausting. When we don’t address our rumination, it can begin to affect our daily functioning and living.

Below are 5 tips on how to stop ruminating:

Change “What if” to “What is”

When it comes to ruminating thoughts, they tend to be either overthinking past experiences and how certain events played out or become preoccupied with what “might” happen in the future. Either way, our thoughts are far from the present. When we find ourselves consumed with “what if…” thoughts, a helpful technique is to reframe it to what is currently happening.

For example, rather than thinking, “What if I fail this test?”, we can reframe that thought to, “Currently, I am taking the necessary time and effort to study and feel confident going into the test.” It is a simple technique, however, can make a huge difference in becoming less consumed by our ruminating thoughts.

The 5-Senses Technique

The 5-senses technique is quick, yet effective in becoming more present at the moment. When you feel consumed by your thoughts, take a moment to go through your 5 senses and identify one thing you can see, hear, smell, feel, and taste.

Identify Your Next Step and Take Action

Oftentimes when we feel overwhelmed with our ruminating thoughts, it is a result of not having clarity on what our next step is. We become so preoccupied with the big goal or the many steps that we lose sight of what we can control in the present moment. When feeling overwhelmed, ask yourself what is the first next step you can take. When following this method, you’d be surprised how much you accomplish!

Practice Mindfulness

The act of mindfulness is to partake in any activity that helps ground you to the present moment. Of course, being humans, our minds are going to wander. We can actually expect that!

However, being mindful is the practice of becoming aware of when our mind wanders and redirecting it back to the present moment. Activities that create mindfulness can vary from person to person. Some examples could be playing your favorite instrument or sport, meditation, going for a walk, or journaling.

Seek Therapy

If you try these techniques but still find it difficult in managing these ruminating thoughts, reach out for help! Having support and guidance in navigating these thoughts can make a world of a difference.

Call me (Heather Deecken, LCSW) today at (954) 391-5305 for a free consultation to explore if therapy may be a good fit for you. I would be happy to help you overcome anxiety, worry, or ruminating thoughts so you can live a happier, more peaceful life.

For more tips to help manage your ruminating click here.


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