That cringeworthy moment replays in your head endlessly. The self-criticism loops, draining your mental health. Learn how to break free from rumination’s vicious cycle with research-backed techniques.

Understanding Rumination’s Gravity

Rumination means repeatedly dwelling on distressing events. Left unchecked, it fuels prolonged negative thinking that can deeply impact wellbeing. Learning to manage runaway thoughts is critical.

Strategy 1: Defuse Yourself from Self-Critical Thoughts

Psychologist Dr. Katerina Stratigis says cognitive defusion helps create distance between you and your thoughts. Rather than believing harsh judgments like “I’m so stupid,” defuse by thinking “I’m having the thought that I’m stupid.” Visualize troubled thoughts floating away on leaves.

Strategy 2: Practice Radical Self-Compassion

Treat yourself with the same kindness you’d give a struggling friend. Question if you’re being overly critical. Remind yourself making mistakes is part of being human. Self-compassion builds resilience.

Strategy 3: Journal to Process Emotions

Writing helps process feelings fueling rumination. Dr. Stratigis suggests timed, structured journaling to avoid prolonging overthinking. Set a timer for 2 minutes and let emotions flow onto paper. Assess if more writing is helpful or not.

With cognitive defusion, self-compassion, and strategic journaling, you can break free from rumination’s gravitational pull. Dwell not on isolated missteps, but the grand journey ahead.


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