Don’t Be A Ruminator! How to Stop Ruminating – 7 Tips If You Think About It Over and Over Again

how to stop ruminating

Feeling Stuck in the repetitive thoughts of the past? Read this article to learn how to stop ruminating and move on from being a compulsive ruminator to a path of growth.

Are You A Ruminator Who Can’t Stop Ruminating

Rumination is an unproductive way of thinking about a painful experience over and over again, hoping to get an insight or learning from the hurt.

If you are a person who can’t stop thinking about a previous failure, loss or hurt and find it difficult to control such thoughts, then you fit the definition of a Ruminator.

Being A Ruminator is Hurting You! Why Stop Thinking About the Same Thing Over and Over Again

Rumination can bring more peril than the initial event that caused you pain. Your tendency to think about the same thing repeatedly can lead to mental suffering and weaken your social support.

Let’s see how ruminations can have a negative impact on your life.

1. Rumination can Make You Depressed

Ruminating on your painful experiences of the past can make you more upset and increase your feelings of sadness. The prolonged sadness can readily manifest itself into a full-blown depression.

2. Being A Ruminator Makes Your More Angry

Ruminating on the past hurt can increase your irritability, anger and can significantly add stress to your cardiovascular health.

3. People Will Move Away From You

Discussing the same topic, expressing sadness, hurt, again and again, with your friends and family can test their patience.

They may even develop feelings of resentment towards you.


It’s because if you discuss the same thoughts and feelings with them regularly, it might make them think that their earlier efforts to soothe your pain have gone in vain.

How to Stop Ruminating: 7 Tips to Quit being A Ruminator

Rumination can wreak havoc on your mental health. Learning how to put a brake on depressive, negative thoughts can help you ease off your mental suffering.

Below are 7 tips on how to stop ruminating and quit being a ruminator:

1. Observe Your Thoughts From A Distance

The cycle of rumination can be weakened by changing the way you self-reflect. 

Many people use a self-immersive perspective when they think of a past event, conversation or when they try to relive a past memory. 

Studies show that emotional distress and pain could be reduced drastically by thinking yourself in second or third person pronouns.

Reflecting on your agony and ordeal as an external outsider, with scenes including both yourself and others who have caused you affliction, can significantly diminish your suffering and aggression.

Thinking about yourself from a distance can help you detach emotionally from the distressing situation.

Research shows the self-distancing technique induces a lower cardiovascular response as compared to the self-immersive way of reflection.

2. Use Distraction to Reduce Rumination

While telling yourself not to think about a specific thing hardly does the job, distracting yourself from the emotional pain can help you decrease the frequency of rumination.

Doing activities that require your full concentration and attention can break the ruminating thoughts series.

Mental exercises like engaging yourself in solving puzzles like sudoku or trying to recall the layout of a building you once visited, can almost immediately cut off the ruminating train of thoughts.

If you have more time, you can even do some cardiovascular exercises or go out to watch a movie.

Any activity that demands your concentration would distract you from falling into the rabbit hole of rumination.

The moment you catch yourself ruminating about things over and over again, stop yourself and motivate yourself to do an activity that might use your concentration.

Related: How Not to Lose Focus

3. Be Ready to Let Go of the Anger

Ruminating thoughts often act as fuel to add more anger and bitterness towards the person who has offended you.

Understanding the role of angry feelings and how they make you miserable by maintaining the rumination, can change your affinity towards carrying the anger anymore.

The angrier you feel, the more distressing thoughts your mind will create. Hence, it’s important to realise here that to let go of ruminations, you would need to start the process of managing the anger you might have towards the person who has wronged you.

One of the helpful ways to stop feeling angry is to learn how to reframe the entire situation.

We will see the steps to reframe the anger in further steps below.

Related: How to Let Go of Grudges and Bitterness

4. Look For the Positive Intention of the Offender

Many times our anger is the result of cognitive distortions. 

Our tendency to generalise things, thinking in black or white, mind-reading, filtering, or exaggerating the impact of wrong actions of others can cause us to maintain the anger within.

If you want to stop ruminating, your goal here is to put in the effort to decrease the feelings of aggression toward the offending person.

So, it’s a good idea to see the actions of that person from a changed perspective.

Trying to come up with realistic positive alternatives to what might have been their intention to the way they acted with you could, to some extent, can lower the intensity of anger you feel towards them.

Succeeding with the above step can massively weaken the ruminations about them.

5. Grab the Opportunities for Growth

Bad things happen to almost each of us. No one is spared.

The suffering it causes is only a natural reaction to all the pain we go through.

However, it is up to us to see and identify the areas of our deficiencies that might have contributed to our pain.

Instead of looking at those deficiencies as your weaknesses, you may choose to see them as opportunities for growth, the areas that with some improvement can become sources of future joy.

6. Learn Your Lesson from Past

Mind ruminates because it somehow believes that it needs to learn lessons from the event that happened so that it can avoid similar pain in future.

Coming up with a list of all the lessons that a hurt, incident, conversation taught you can assure your mind that it has resources to act in a different way.

7. Send Prayers to the Offending Person

You might baulk at this suggestion but one of the surefire ways to lower feelings of aggression towards your offender is by trying to see them as human beings who might need some help from others.

Many times humans resort to offending others because they are themselves in pain and they didn’t know any better than the way they might have acted.

The mental and physical anguish they might be in can cause suffering to those around them. 

Gaining this perspective and developing a little empathy toward the offender can help you ask for help from the higher power for them so that they can heal.

Conclusion – How to Stop Ruminating

Our tendency to self-reflect, if gone awry, can paralyse us and can bring our life to a standstill. 

Not only severe rumination steals away our mental resources but it can have a detrimental effect on our relationships with our loved ones.

Learning how to stop ruminating is, thus, vital for a peaceful life. 

By changing the way we do self-reflection, making efforts to distract ourselves in the midst of rumination and reframing the situation that has triggered our ruminating thoughts and aggression, we can learn to stop thinking the same thing over and over again and free ourselves from the clutches of ruminations.

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