rumination

Tuesday, August 11, 2009



chocolate brown guest room vignette - 7pm

The person who risks nothing,
does nothing, has nothing,
is nothing and becomes nothing.
He may avoid suffering and sorrow,
but he simply cannot learn and feel,
change and grow and love and live.

Leo F. Buscgalia

yikes !

Change is the essence of life.
Be willing to surrender who you think you are
For who and what you could become.

Unknown

Change. Changing. It's almost all I think about. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or just a giant waste of time - the thinking about it. I think too much, I know that. Rumination has become what feels like comfort to me, a cozy fleece blanket, a well practiced favourite hobby. An anxiety reducer - or so I've convinced myself. Rumination has been foolin' with me - because actually it is the thing that's been holding me back.

You may think of this self-focused, self-critical frame of mind as brooding. Psychologists also call it rumination. When we ruminate, we become fruitlessly preoccupied with the fact that we are unhappy and with the causes, meanings and consequences of our unhappiness. Research has repeatedly shown that if we have tended to react to our sad or depressed moods in these ways in the past, then we are likely to find the same strategy volunteering to "help" again and again when our mood starts to slide. And it will have the same effect: we'll become stuck in the very mood from which we are trying to escape. As a consequence, we are at even higher risk of experiencing repeated bouts of unhappiness

Why then do we ruminate? Why do we continue to dwell on thoughts about our unhappiness when it just seems to make things worse? When researchers ask people who ruminate a lot why they do it, a simple answer emerges: They do it because they believe it will help them overcome their unhappiness and depression. They believe that not doing it will make their condition worse and worse.

We ruminate when we feel low because we believe that it will reveal a way to solve our problems. But research shows that rumination does exactly the opposite: our ability to solve problems actually deteriorates markedly during rumination. All the evidence seems to point to the stark truth that rumination is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

more Uh Huh ! moments from the current bedside book
Chapter 2 - The Healing Power of Awareness

Patchouli & orange bubbles, dark storm clouds and a harbour as still as glass.

12 comments:

  1. That is an interesting concept - that the more we churn over our current woes in our heads, the worse we make the problem. On the other hand, I think we are hard-wired to use analytical reasoning: it probably kept us from starving to death back in the day. :) I guess the trick is to know when (and how) to turn off the soundtrack. Hmmm....:)

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  2. You know Yoboro I think this whole over thinking thing is made worse for me simply by circumstances - I live alone, I don't share my home with a crazy, busy gang of kids like you do, I'm self employed (at home) hangin' all day with me, myself and I. I sit at the teak topped desk and I draw all day and other than listening to my beloved CBC Radio 1 - what's a girl to do to while away the day - but Hey ! Let's Ruminate ??

    Yet another reason to move to the city where I could have many more choices of ways to spend my days.

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  3. I have learned that too. By going over and over the thoughts, "I'm unhappy, I feel lonely, I'm frightened, I need to do something" We just reinforce those things in our brain and the subconscious believes they are our truth and makes it so. It is SO hard to snap out of those thought patterns but it can be done and it takes diligence and diversionary tactics. As soon as you recognize your familiar refrain, you say "wait a minute"....I have the love of some great friends, I can do anything I want,I am talented,I breathe, I am healthy, I am grateful for...." It really does make a difference over time but it is hard work and so much easier to wrap yourself in the comfort of "oh well...."
    Sorry to be going on like this but I have struggled with dark thoughts in the past and being unable to get out of my own way! It's a sad place to be but not a permanent one. You are going to be just fine!!! You are on your way:)

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  4. It used to be real easy for me to stay in a depressed "funk". I have learned (with the help of counseling) to have some kind of trigger that will get you thinking positive again. When I'm awake, it's my Stop pillow, when I need to get some sleep, I think of dancing. Find your trigger.
    Many happy thoughts,
    Lynn

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  5. I always think of cows., don't we??
    You know, ruminating. There must be a connection somewhere. :)
    I guess we all need to find a balance. Somewhere between Eeyore and Scarlett O'Hara.

    Lucky you to have a stormy day!
    Edward, Apple and I send love!

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  6. Hi Pamela they say ruminating because we're over chewing, or chewing over - and over our cud. That's the cow connection. Cooler, cloudy and grey!

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  7. I guess it's considered ruminating, or brooding. We become preoccupied with something. And like something different in our mouth, say a chip on our tooth, our tongue seeks it out without any thought. For me, this is the time to take my camera and go outdoors. Where I will inevitably/hopefully become mesmerized by something in the lens, and the brooding/ruminating seems to drift to the background of my thoughts and my shot. Like focusing the button, and something automatically in sight blurs as you set your shot. Also a time to get moving, as in walking, etc. Releases those "good feeling" hormones.
    Brenda

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  8. I can completely relate to you. I am alone a lot. Sure I have a gang of kids but they are grown and gone. I am home all day by myself with my pets out in the middle of corn fields. But unlike you I have a really hard time even approaching my desk for anything constructive. You on the other hand still create wonderful and beautiful works of art. And your photography is outstanding. Still I know none of that makes up for being alone and sad. It's easy for everyone to give suggestion. I'd like to move to the city too, but the market won't have it. It's totally understandable how you are feeling. And commendable that you recognize it. I think it is why I love reading your blog. It has such heartfelt honesty to it.

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  9. Oh, you are so right about Edward's Italian twins!!! Aren't they marvelous??! I have added them to my blog roll and just know they will be a favourite stop for me, and for Edward, each and every day! Thanks so much for thinking of us!!!

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  10. Ah so that's my folly - over rumination. Actually I wonder if you can over-ruminate or if just plain ruminating is bad...probably so.

    I have always tended to be an "over thinker" and have anxiety. Like you I do not have a lot of distractions in my life and possibly for me rumination comes too easily. I just recently picked up a second job waitressing because I was sick of sitting around worrying about the large amount of debt we are in. I am not making hundreds to pay down debt bit do think NOT sitting around worrying about it makes me have a better perspective about it.

    Your awareness of your situation is a great first step I think. Coming from me - a more urban dweller - I find it can be just as easy to over ruminate in the city as I was able to when I lived more rurally. In some ways it is a state of mind, rather than an location. I think.

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  11. I have been tutoring....not much money made to rescue us from "financial ruin," whatever that is....but at least it is a little start....like the waitressing. Maybe our sharing thoughts with each other is helping. When cows start "chewing." they usually get together, soooooo......

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  12. An insightfull post. Will definitely help.

    Thanks,
    Karim - Positive thinking

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