While it may not be easy to pull yourself out of an endless thought loop it’s possible to manage rumination. Consider the following tips as a first step:
Grounding implies bringing your mind to the present moment and focusing on your body sensations. Simple exercises like taking a moment to name one thing you see, smell, taste, feel, and hear [can] pull you out of the future thinking and worrying, and bring you back to the present.
Adjust your expectations
If you live with perfectionist tendencies, consider going easier on yourself. If you’re thinking about a tough conversation, for example, know that you did the best you could at the time with the tools you had — and if you would’ve known differently, you would’ve done differently. You’re only human.
Counter your brain
When you catch yourself ruminating, try to talk to your brain and tell it to stop. You could say things like, “Not knowing what will happen is hard but I can handle anything that comes my way.” To build onto this, you may want to write out a solution to any problem your mind comes up with, as a way of interrupting the pattern.
Do a state change
You may find that rumination comes up in your quiet moments, like while driving or taking a shower. If you’re able to, change your state of mind or surroundings. You may want to try:
- moving your body
- calling a friend
- turning on music
- making artwork
- playing an instrument
Write it out
For this, consider getting a piece of paper, setting a timer for a few minutes, and writing all your thoughts down on paper. Scribble if you need to, just get it out of your head and onto the paper.
Sometimes, if you add a little perspective, it can make all the difference. You can ask yourself these questions:
- Will it matter in 5 hours?
- Will it matter in 5 days?
- Will it matter in 5 weeks?
- How else can I view this situation?
- Have I overcome or gotten over something like this before?
Focus on your strengths
You may be ruminating over your perceived challenges, so focusing on your self-esteem by working on yourself may help. Focus on the strengths and skills that make you feel good about yourself. Try to feel good enough from within. This will reduce rumination and anticipatory anxiety.
You may find it helpful to take on a yoga, mindfulness, or meditation practice. To start, it can be as simple as breathing in for 5 seconds and breathing out for 5 seconds. You can be present in your moments by practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness helps you to understand the connection between thoughts and feelings. It helps to control automatic, racing thoughts.