Continually thinking about your problems can interfere with your concentration. Most people expect that thinking through their problems will help solve them. But continual thinking and thinking usually can’t solve a problem. For example, if your spouse leaves you, running this fact through your head a thousand times won’t change things.
-Dr. Neal Houston, Sociologist
I ruminate all the time! I saw this quote and it struck me as completely true! Sitting and thinking about something over and over again does not fix anything. Sure, I come to conclusions about things sometimes, but usually I can come to those conclusions fairly quickly – but I still will continue to think and think and think, and question and question and question. My therapist calls this the snowball effect – it pretty much is just that. I think one thing, ask a question, think of that, ask another question, think of that, and so on and so on. It progressively gets worse and worse. The thoughts get more dangerous. For me personally, they can lead to a deeper depression and even the suicidal ideations.
I have to nip them in the bud. This is where Cognitive Behavioral Therapy comes in for me. The whole Triangle thing comes in – for those of you who have taken CBT. My thoughts affect my emotions affect my behavior and back to my thoughts. I have to change one of those things to change the others. So for me, it would be to change my thoughts so that I don’t act out on a behavior (the suicidal thoughts) and my emotions (my depressive thoughts) do not get worse. Or I need to do a behavior (a distraction – painting, reading, writing, etc) – so that I can quit ruminating on my thoughts.
This is such a hard thing for me to do and remember to do. I will get so sucked up into thinking that I do not even realize that I am going over and over the thoughts in my head until it is too late and I feel like I cannot even get out of it. I begin to get so overwhelmed, anxious, and depressed and then do not even want to do anything or feel I cannot do anything to get out of the situation. It is so important to not get stuck in this sort of situation. Practicing this CBT is very important to keep our thoughts on the right track. I definitely do not do it enough.