Why Thinking Gets You Nowhere: The Bane Of Rumination

When you sit down to meditate, you have a clear intention of either being silent or solving a problem. But what happens when the problem can’t be solved? If you refuse to accept the situation and keep meditating on the problem, its possible solutions and outcomes, running them through your mind over and over again, that’s called rumination. And sometimes it can be deadly.

I have a problem with “rehearsals”. That’s where I play over and over and over any situation that I may or will come across. And I don’t just rehearse my part, I play the part of everybody else as well. I go into these rehearsals with no end goal. I just rehearse. First I’ll imagine one scenario, then another. I may even replay certain situations repeatedly. But none of this rehearsing actually gets me anywhere. It’s just a way my anxiety manifests.

So, what to do. Well, for one, when your anxiety is severe, being on the right medication helps. But I started thinking, “What can I┬ádo to distract from these rehearsals?”. I can keep my mind and hands busy.

I recently took up Kumihimo braiding. It’s a great muscle relaxant to me, and the best part is, since I’m still learning and have to pay close attention to what I’m doing, I can easily keep my mind preoccupied. Adult coloring books are also a great way to unwind and distract. Because there’s more stuff going on on the page, you really have to pay attention. Keeping your mind busy with that as well as color choices always brings me to a peaceful, slowed down, state of mind. Walking every morning and paying attention to the trees and gardens in the neighborhood. Exercising. Drawing. Theses are the things I do when I need to distract.

Rumination is a hell on earth. It’s prompted by anxiety and only serves to worsen it. Finding engaging activities, as well as medication, has helped me immensely. What are some ways you distract? Please share in the comments below.

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