Ruminating is something that cows do. They are designed to chew their food and have it pass to their first stomach. Then, their half-digested food is returned from their first stomach to their mouth for further chewing.
Ruminating is also something that humans do, but, in humans, it is not a posi- tive response to situations. Many individuals over-think and over-analyze the circumstances of certain negative events that happen to them. They become obsessed with replaying them over and over in their minds. They weigh every word. They consider every action and they brood about every nuance.
People who ruminate tend to focus on one negative thing that has occurred. They obsess about it. This excessive amount of reflection can produce anxiety, depression, Post Traumatic Stress, binging, substance abuse, and other negative consequences.
Reflecting on past experiences can sometimes be helpful if it produces greater insight, greater performance and greater accomplishments in the future. It is the amount of time spent on reflection that deter- mines whether or not you are reflecting or ruminating.
For increased happiness and peace in your life, consider changing that particular behavior. Begin by identifying the emotions you are feeling. Fear is usually the main culprit; fear of looking foolish or fear of losing a job or a relationship. Fear of losing respect and admiration are also common.
Use some techniques to refocus your thoughts. Remember, if you change your thoughts you change your feelings. Remind yourself of your own competence, resilience, capabilities, and power.
Let it go. It is in the past. You cannot change it. In the grand scheme of things it is less important than you believe it to be. Learn from it and move on. Use thought- stopping techniques to curtail it. Consciously limit the amount of time and energy you are willing to devote to the event.
Cows and other cud-chewing animals have to ruminate but you were not designed to ruminate. You were designed to be happy and relaxed.
Patricia Psychotherapist. She can be reached at 305- 788-4864, Psychotherapy.firstname.lastname@example.org