Guest Author - Sarah Counter, Cognitive Behavioural Therapist with Outlook South West
Have you wondered why cows have 4 stomachs? They belong to a group of animals called ‘ruminants’. They ‘chew the cud’ and go through several processes to repeatedly break down their complex food sources. They are what is known as ‘ruminates’.
Research has demonstrated how humans can be prone to a different form of rumination. A form of mental activity consistently linked with depression. For us it is a form of thinking that is linked with recalling and churning over past events which are often distressing and bring up painful thoughts and feelings. Often when we feel down or depressed we spend our time thinking about what it is that is causing our distress. However, it can be helpful to consider ‘why’ you are thinking?
There are many reasons ‘why’ we think about a problem, such as trying to figure it out (to solve it) or we can worry about things in an attempt to resolve the problem from happening in the future. But we often don’t need to change ‘what’ we are thinking about when we are down or depressed but consider the question; HOW is thinking about this helping me?
We might want to ask ourselves; is thinking about this making me feel less depressed? If I wasn’t thinking about this, what would I be doing and how would that make me feel?
Therefore, in order to start to tackle depression it can be helpful to start to recognise signs of rumination. Consider these questions:
· Am I constantly preoccupied with negative thoughts, events and emotions?
· Am I actually solving the problem I am thinking about?
· What impact is this having on my mood?
If you are over 16 and think you may have a problem with rumination that is maintaining your low mood or anxiety, contact Outlook South West about an assessment.
Call (01208) 871905 or register online [HERE] for NHS-funded therapy for anxiety and depression.