Rumination

neurotic by han hoogerbrugge

Rumination [roo-muh-ney-shuhn] is a way of responding to distress that involves repetitively (and passively) focusing on the symptoms of distress, and on its possible causes and consequences. Rumination is more common in people who are pessimistic or neurotic. The tendency to ruminate is a stable constant over time and serves as a significant risk factor for clinical depression. There is also evidence that rumination is linked to general anxiety, post traumatic stress, binge drinking, eating disorders, and self-injurious behavior. Rumination is similar to worry except rumination focuses on bad feelings and experiences from the past, whereas worry is concerned over potential bad events in the future. Both rumination and worry are associated with anxiety and other negative emotional states.

Although rumination is generally unhealthy and associated with depression, thinking and talking about one’s feelings can be beneficial under the right conditions. Healthy self-disclosure can reduce distress and rumination when it leads to greater insight and understanding about the source of one’s problems. Thus, when people share their feelings with others in the context of supportive relationships, they are likely to experience growth. When people repetitively ruminate and dwell on the same problem without making progress, they are likely to experience depression.

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