Do you constantly replay or obsess over negative situations? Known as rumination, it can feel like a broken record. Your mind rehearses the play-by-play of what led to that horrific breakup or missing a deadline at work. Even when everything is going well, we tend to hyperfocus on the one negative thing that happened during the day, like the time our boss criticized us in front of our colleagues.
Reflecting on past experiences can be helpful in problem-solving and overcoming dilemmas, but brooding rumination takes this to the next level. It offers few new insights and often serves to intensify our negative feelings. We become narrowly focused on the things that are not going well instead of seeing the larger picture. These ruminative thoughts can keep us up late at night overanalyzing the situation.
According to Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, Ph.D., professor at Yale University, research has shown that rumination is associated with a variety of negative consequences, including depression, anxiety, PTSD, substance use, and binge-eating.