Coach Yourself To Deal With Your Ruminations
November 23, 2021
We all have this unfortunate tendency to keep ruminating about upsetting and distressing things, and we do it in entirely unproductive ways.
“I have so much work to do.”
” I am so stressed. My research work is not moving well.”
“Why is he not responding?”
” Oh god, I shouldn’t have taken so much risk on this project.”
“What if I they don’t select me for the job?”
We spend hours obsessing about tasks we haven’t completed. We stew about tensions at work or generally worry about something in the future. Replaying the same thoughts and worries repeatedly in our heads significantly impacts our general productivity and efficiency.
Even if we want to move on to a more positive frame of mind, we struggle. These thoughts pop into our heads when we don’t want them to.
Unfortunately, ruminating is difficult to resist. Because thinking about the unfinished workload feels urgent, anxiously worrying about the future or the issue feels compelling. Ruminating always feels like we are doing something important, when in fact, all we are doing is replaying useless thoughts that in no way help us resolve the issues we are grappling with. All such ruminating thoughts do is increase our stress levels.
From my coaching experience, I have learned a handy technique to help me deal with my pesky ruminations. It involves converting a ruminative thought into a productive thought. I invert the thought and pose it to myself as a problem to be solved.
“I have so much work to do” becomes “What tasks can I eliminate so that I can feel less overwhelmed” or “What are the top 3 tasks I will focus on and not worry about the rest.”
“What if they don’t select me for the job?” becomes “What are the choices I can work on in case I don’t get the job.”
“Why is he not responding?” becomes “Is there someone else I can reach out to if he doesn’t respond in the next two days.”
Unconscious ruminations kill the peace in our daily lives. However, if we can catch ourselves in our ruminative moments and convert them into productive thoughts, we will feel better. All ruminative thoughts are problems that can be solved.