How brooding and having negative thoughts affect our physical and mental health.
It is natural to reflect on painful experiences or worries. By going through such scenes in our minds, we hope to come up with new ideas or understandings that will reduce our distress and allow us to move forward. But this natural process of self-reflection often goes awry so that instead of achieving emotional release, we play the same painful scenes in our head repeatedly, feeling sadder, angrier, or more agitated each time we do so.
We replay the scenes of a painful break-up and reanalyze every nuance of that last conversation; we relive the last scenes of the last moments before being affected by a trauma or loss; we relive all the encounters in which our boss criticized us in front of our colleagues, or play different versions of an angry confrontation even though it is a confrontation we may never have. The urge to brood and brood can strike taking over our thoughts when we go to work, when we are in the shower, when we are preparing dinner or when we are trying to do our job. Before we know it, our mood is ruined and our emotions are more skin-deep than ever.
The 7 hidden dangers of the vicious circle of rumination
Ruminer is considered being an inappropriate form of self-reflection because it offers few new perspectives and only intensifies the emotional and psychological distress we already feel. It may seem obvious that such ruminative cycles are emotionally painful, but the significant risks they pose to our mental and physical health are less obvious.
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