We have all had negative thoughts, and in most cases, that’s normal.  However, when negative thoughts become excessive and repetitive, this pattern of thinking may be cause for concern.

Rumination is a thought processing disorder that is characterized by obsessional thinking that involves repetitive, negative thinking, or dwelling on negative feelings that interfere with normal functioning.

Rumination is often described as a loop of negative thoughts. This cycle of negative thinking can contribute to the development of depression and anxiety or worsen already existing mental health disorders. Rumination can also affect a person’s sleep and physical health, as a result of stress.

People ruminate for several reasons. The American Psychological Association listed the following as common reasons why people may have ruminating thoughts. They:

  • Believe they are gaining insight into a problem.
  • Perceive they face constant, uncontrollable stressors.
  • Had traumatic experiences.
  • Possess personality characteristics such as perfectionism or neuroticism.
  • Have low self-esteem.

The first step to addressing rumination is recognizing that there is a problem.  If you realize that you are ruminating, you can try these tips to help break the cycle of negative thinking:

  • Distract yourself by doing activities that can disrupt negative thinking.
  • Identify triggers that you can or can’t change.
  • Learn how to set realistic expectations.
  • Work on improving self-esteem.
  • Practice mindfulness
  • Practice positive affirmations

Lastly, if ruminating thoughts persist and are interfering with your life, try seeking assistance from a mental health professional.

The most common therapy used to address rumination is rumination-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, which focuses on redirecting a person’s thought process and improving coping skills.

To schedule an appointment with a mental health professional at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-5575.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.