Eight strategies to help stop rumination

1. Let go of things you can't change or control

Will your ruminating actually make anything better? If not, try to let it go. Ruminating about things in the past will only distress you and stop you from living in the present. If there are any things you can change use some practical problemsolving and set yourself some small goals.

2. Practise mindfulness

Mindfulness is a very effective technique in helping to combat rumination. It works by re-focusing thoughts back to the present moment. Practise mindfulness when doing everyday tasks – ask yourself what you can hear, feel, smell, see and taste. Or, you could look for a course.

3. Take time to relax everyday

Practising relaxation and breathing techniques can help you feel calmer, help to combat the symptoms of depression and improve sleep. Try different ways to relax such as yoga, aromatherapy or meditation.

4. Take some moderate exercise

Take a walk or go for a run or a swim - it will help to calm your mind and re-focus your thoughts back to the here and now.

5. Learn from mistakes

Failing and making mistakes, sometimes, is part of life. Instead of ruminating for too long try to learn a valuable lesson from any mistakes you make so that you can improve any future experiences. For example, if a job interview doesn't go well - get some feedback so that you make some positive changes and improve your chances of success next time.

6. Use a problem-solving technique

Set aside a time each day to tackle your worrying (15 minutes in the evening is ideal). If you find yourself worrying during the day - stop yourself - and delay your worrying until later. Use a problem-solving technique to tackle any practical problems - while deciding to let go of things you can't change.

7. Get a good night's sleep

Rumination can often cause sleep problems – improving your sleep patterns can help you feel stronger and cope better.

8. Create a list of things you can do instead

Create some lists of positive things - activities you enjoy and things you like to think about:

  • Walking in nature, craft activities, cooking a favourite dish, going to a café, listening to some upbeat music, watching a funny movie, talking to a friend.
  • Positive thoughts, good experiences, compliments, things you are grateful for, achievements.

When you find yourself ruminating use the lists to find an alternative activity or something more positive to think about that will boost your mood.

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