Following is an exercise from my friend, psychologist Dr. Alice Boyes, to help us all stop ruminating:
“Here’s an idea for a behavioral experiment for people who ruminate (passively & repeatedly think about the causes or consequences of problems without moving to active problem solving. Often involves self-criticism).
Prep:If you have a smart phone, you might find this easiest to do using your phone to record (you could use a basic note taking app or your calendar app, or whatever suits you).
Or, you could just use a piece of paper/notebook.
Record: each time you notice yourself ruminating (as it happens)
You might do this by noticing
– when you are lost in thought,
– thinking about the past or the future, or
– when you are feeling negative emotions.
Any of these can act as triggers for you to ask yourself “Am I ruminating right now?” Or “Was I just ruminating?”
Record approx how many minutes you were ruminating for.
At the end of each day, record:any incidents of rumination that led to useful problem solving i.e., you took a specific action.”
Find the rest of the exercise on Dr. Boyes’ blog