How To Stop Ruminating: Clinically-Proven Rumination Treatment

Ruminating is an excessive focus on problems, negative life events, or symptoms of depression, that serves to maintain depressive episodes. Ruminating can prolong depression, and can make future depressive episodes more likely. Although people who ruminate often do so with the belief that they are solving a problem, the reality is they are ensuring their mood remains low by not participating in rewarding activities. If rumination is not actively targeted in treatment, significant research has shown it will result slower symptom reduction during treatment, and can lead to a poorer response to therapy. For this reason, there is a CBT treatment specifically designed to teach people how to stop ruminating.

CBT for ruminating involves a combination of learning new ways of thinking and behaving to stop ruminating. Unlike traditional talk therapy, CBT is targeted to the problems that need addressing, and focuses on current factors maintaining symptoms. CBT treatment for ruminating usually involves some combination of the following components:

Functional Analysis: Functional analysis is a way of identifying all of the factors that serve to maintain ruminating. Through functional analysis, it becomes clear which behaviors need to change in order to stop ruminating.

Behavioral Activation: Behavioral activation involves increasing rewarding behavior, as depression tends to cause people to withdraw from pleasurable or mastery-inducing activities. By shifting the mode of problem-solving from thinking to taking action, ruminating and depression are dramatically reduced.

Cognitive Restructuring: Cognitive restructuring involves identifying the unhelpful thoughts that are the focus of rumination, and learning new, more balanced ways of thinking about things. By replacing unhelpful ruminating with more reality-based thinking, it becomes easier to stop ruminating.

Mindfulness Training: Mindfulness is the practice of bringing one’s attention to the present. This is used in therapy for ruminating, as ruminating can be understood as getting lost in thoughts. Mindfulness, on the other hand, is about de-fusing from thoughts and engaging fully in life.

At Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, we specialize in treatment of depression and anxiety, including treatments to stop ruminating. Call or email today for an appointment.