Rumination, or obsessive over-thinking about your situations or life events, is linked to sleeplessness. It is probably the symptom most commonly spoken of by people suffering from depression and/or anxiety, and it plays a key role in sleeplessness, eating disorders and a list of other complaints.
Since sleeplessness can make any form of suffering seem worse, it’s logical that improving sleep can also lessen general distress. It’s a common factor but it’s also one of the easiest to do something about. I shall be launching a new online course showing how to improve sleep in the next few weeks (see below).
Is Rumination Bad?
As a coping style, rumination is more hindrance than help, but does that make it a bad habit? Not entirely. Like anything we can do with our thinking, it has its uses, but equally, just as any other aspect of thought, it can be a nuisance if it becomes generalised. Over-analysis can lead to paralysis.
The ability to look at things in detail, from many different angles and theorise about potential solutions can be very useful as far as it goes, and when it leads to meaningful action.
But problems arise when someone loses the ability (or has never developed it), to turn the thinking into action or, if no action is appropriate, to simply say “Let it go”.
When you can do that, you’ll also be able to say “And the fears that once controlled me, can’t get to me at all”, just like it says in the song.