Do you ever ruminate? You know, get stuck thinking (usually something negative) over and over?
One of my greatest challenges in my recovery has been to stop ruminating.
Here are three tools that I’ve found helpful in overcoming my ruminating:
1. Choosing with my will to control my thinking.
Instead of allowing my mind to simply be on automatic pilot I have to choose to be in control of what I’m thinking about and how often I’m thinking about it. Even if what I’ve been ruminating about is a “worry” that is true; I at least have to choose to simply stop letting it play over and over in my mind.
As a Christian I was reminded that the Apostle Paul in the Bible says that we are to “take captive” our thinking. He also says that we should focus on what is right and true. In other words, control your thinking. And replace the negative with what is true and helpful.
2. When ruminating I learned that it’s important to actually tell myself, out- loud, to “stop”.
I read somewhere that if your brain here’s your voice it actually disrupts the brainwave pattern and interrupts the repetitive thinking. (It certainly works for me.) It’s similar to someone interrupting you when you are really focused on something and then it is difficult to get your focus back.
3. Hang out with people with positive outlooks on life as much as possible.
It is said that we become like the five people we hang around the most. So, as much as possible I nurture relationships with people who have a positive look on life.
You certainly don’t need to have bipolar disorder to have difficulties with ruminating. It is common to the human condition.
What do tools do you use to overcome your ruminating?