Neil Thompson’s Lessons for Living – Avoid rumination
When we experience powerful negative emotions, such as when we are grieving, upset, angry or disappointed, they can dominate our thinking for a while. We find it difficult to push them to the back of our mind and try to get past them. But normally we will do so sooner or later. However, what can happen sometimes is that we get locked into a cycle of negativity. We can ‘ruminate’. This means that we go over and over things in our mind; we find it difficult to stop coming back to what has hurt us. This is to be expected in the early aftermath of a difficult experience, but it can continue for weeks, months or even years, constantly sapping our energy and disempowering us. So, it is important to recognize the dangers of rumination – in ourselves and others. Where this ‘locking in’ to a cycle of negativity has occurred we need to look carefully at strategies for breaking out of it.