We all do it—reliving a moment over and over, obsessively thinking about something that is worrying us, our minds ruminating like a rat on a wheel. Worry and rumination are very common thinking styles and many clients come to therapy concerned they are overthinking things with worries that they can’t shake, often keeping them up at night and disrupting their thought flow throughout the day.
Worry is a normal, inbuilt human instinct designed to keep us safe , but sometimes our brains get caught in a distressing loop causing anxiety and depression. Often, we need a helping hand to gain some perspective on the issues that are keeping us up at night. It’s difficult to recognise when you are in the throes of worry and rumination. Sometimes those around us might voice their concerns about how we are thinking about things, and it can be important to listen.
Psychologists are trained to help clients explore and understand their thinking styles and the effect these thinking styles may have on their wellbeing. They can also provide customised strategies to relate to thoughts that can help reduce the worry and rumination and improve wellbeing. Mind awareness matters, and relating to our minds in helpful ways can step us off the rat wheel rather than things continuing to deteriorate.
One strategy psychologists often recommend is known as a ‘worry window’ whereby you allocate a set amount of time at a certain time of the day to think about what is concerning you. Some clients like to write down their thoughts and reflect and problem solve this way. Writing can be a highly effective form of personal therapy, allowing your mind to flow from one thought to the next with no judgment. And then, when the amount of time comes to an end, you let the worries go and continue on with your day.
Given the inbuilt nature of worry and rumination, the strategies for managing them can feel difficult at first, especially when you are stuck in a rut, but little by little you will find ways help alleviate some of the stress and strain of life.
And please, try to start your day with positive intention and care and compassion for yourself. We are living in testing times, and it is important to acknowledge this and treat ourselves, as well as others, with compassion and consideration.
To read about our team of psychologists and their areas of clinical experience, click here.