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Tips to stop ruminating?


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So I had some realizations this week... and I think there's two major things (if not the only things that matter) bringing me down. One--probably 95% of my problems are practical, situational issues that unfortunately will probably take a very long time to resolve, and there's not a lot I can do to change them right now. As if the situations weren't bad enough, knowing I'm stuck with them makes me feel pretty hopeless to say the least. But the other problem, I realized... is that I have far too much damn time on my own to think.

 

I spend all day with my 2-year old daughter... obviously she's not much for conversation; the day entails basically me dragging my exhausted ass around playing with her (which, when she'll let me, basically involves me laying on the floor) or watching her do whatever 2-year olds do, along with all the feeding, diapering, etc... it's absolute drudgery, as dearly as I love her. But meanwhile, since whatever she's doing isn't too engaging, I'm basically left to my own thoughts. I work at night, and I don't have a ton of interaction with others, so it's a lot of standing around or being by myself. Basically I have nearly all day, every day to just think.

 

And of course, all I can think about is how miserable I am, how much my situation sucks, and the desperation and hopeless of not being able to do anything about it.

 

All the tips I find on ruminating are things like "find something to do that's distracting" or "don't think about problems, think about how you can change it" or "avoid triggers" or "meditate" or whatever. Because of the nature of my daily activities I don't have a lot of options for distracting activities, and I'm doing about all I'm capable of as far as taking steps to change my life situation.

 

Maybe it's not even "rumination" exactly, because that all seems to talk about things that have happened in the past, or worrying about the future... and really it's more than I just hate my current situation.

 

Any thoughts??

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There is a technique called "thought stopping" where you basically identify the thought when you have it and then picture a big, red stop sign.  Every time the thought creeps back in, picture the stop sign.

 

You can also try reframing your thoughts.  Instead of thinking, "I'm not a very good mom", turn that around to "I'm an attentive mom who takes good care of her daughter".

 

Finally, you can write down the thought and then write down the false assumptions you're making.  (This is called a Thought Record).  You can also write down what you will think INSTEAD of the toxic thought.

 

Do you see a therapist?  They would be a great resource for further thought stopping tools.

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Rumination for me is when I can't seem to get a very anxiety provoking thought to stop and the more I try to resolve it in my head the more I notice it.....I'm not down playing that you aren't ruminating....Honestly That is really all my two cents....I do however hate how i have to drag myself to walmart or the Pharmacy when I do not feel good.

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Yeah I should have mentioned I do have a (pretty new) tdoc... She knows about my situations, so far only recommended using my light box, mindfulness/meditating when I have free time... The time to think thing didn't occur to me until now, at least in times when I can't do much about it to distract myself.

Sadly I can't come up with a lot of positive thoughts, most of them are associated with negatives, like my daughter...

Yeah, I have a lot of trouble with being negative and even resistance to getting better, almost like I'd rather sit and stew :(

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Hi Climber... I don't have much positive advice, just wanted to say your post really struck a chord.  I have been staying home with my 2 year old daughter and much as I love her, it is hard.  I sit and stew pretty much all day, and lately (without going into things) it has been so much worse.  When she goes down for a nap, I can't even bring myself to do anything, I basically just sit on the couch and wait for her to get up.  I sleep a lot for a distraction (which I hate, it is so unproductive).  Lately I have gone into the chat here and it has been helping distract me and not feel so lonely.  Sometimes I'll paint my nails.  Little things.  But most of the time, it's hard to actively stop the rumination.  I get where you are coming from, and I'm sorry you feel the same way.  

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Yeah, I have a lot of trouble with being negative and even resistance to getting better, almost like I'd rather sit and stew :(

 

I do this.  The only way for me to jump off the ruminating train when it is stalled at a station is to physically GET UP and move from wherever I am sitting in resistance.

 

Ruminating builds dry riverbeds in my mind that I easily fall right back into. The trick is getting out of that particular brain rut and build new ones.  You are already doing that even though you may not think so. I remember those days so clearly when my girl was two and all I did was two year old stuff and could barely stay awake.  The games you play with her, the walks you take her on, will be there in decades to come for you to think back on with love. 

 

You are doing the best you can. Knowing that you are ruminating is the first step.  Having a therapist is the second step. Then giving yourself time to learn and retrain and remodel is the next step and the longest one of all.  In the meantime, physical movement is the key for me if I want to get off the rumination couch.  Therapy, mindfulness, distraction are the keys to staying off.

 

REmember, one day at a time.

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I don't know if this will help, but when my kids were toddlers I listened to a lot of audio books to distract me from my bad thoughts.  I could play with the kids while listening to the audio books.  I got a lot of free ones on librivox.org.

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Thanks all, I appreciate the replies and suggestions... It does help a little :)

And glad to know other parents feel the same! And great tip about audiobooks, I thought of that a long time ago but she watches cartoons so I figured I couldn't hear a book, but she actually doesn't like tv that much these days so I might try it :)

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Phoenix_Rising has some good suggestions. What about practising CBT? You can do it at home. It has stuff like though distortions.

 

I find this site useful and I use a lot of their worksheets myself. http://www.psychologytools.org/cbt.html

I don't have a printer, so I just make my own pages on scrapbook sheets and make them pretty.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I don't have kids, but I work with them, so I sometimes have the same problem where too much time without real distractions lets me fall back into dwelling on negative thoughts. The kids I'm with are slightly older though, so I've found that playing with them or talking to them does distract me, if only for a few minutes at a time.

 

The only way, aside from doing things to distract me, that I've found I can stop ruminating for awhile is to kind of take a step back from what I'm thinking about and try to think about why I'm worrying about it. This may not be the case for you, but I tend to worry about things that aren't a real issue yet, but could be in the future. So I just have to calm myself down and remind myself not to jump ahead of anything and panic before I need too. Or identify steps I have taken or could take, no matter how small, to do something about whatever problem I'm focused on.

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