The Role of Rumination

definition-of-rumination-stress-center-for-creative-leadership-300x162Rumination is defined as a repetitive, unwanted, past-centered, negative thought process. These thoughts have components of emotional upset, anger, and depression. Rumination is distinct from worry, as it is past-oriented, while worry is considered to be future-centric. (Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov). Rumination can be viewed as a response-style, so if presented with a stressful experience, people may tend to ruminate about it, as opposed to engaging in another coping style such as distracting themselves from the stressor. Ruminating can damage the neural structures that regulate emotions, memory, and feelings. (ASCA). It is considered a maladaptive response to stress, as it has been related to many negative psychological outcomes. It has often been shown that women ruminate more than men and it also plays a factor in adrenal fatigue. (Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov). Rumination increases cortisol in the body, and is related to improper HPA axis stress responses. The more that a person’s thought patterns are focused on the negative and slip into rumination; the easier it becomes to return to those negative thought patterns. This leads to negative thoughts and emotions to eventually take over the body. (ASCA).
What has triggered this inflamed thinking for that person? It is easy to let thoughts slip into rumination, but it causes stress. Depending on how a person copes with their triggers, can also determine how the rest of the body may be affected. According to FractalEnlighment, thoughts and feelings are linked to specific parts of the body and different illnesses; such as fear to the kidney. Constantly sending negative emotions and thoughts disrupts the body’s natural energy flow. (2). According to Viana, in order to avoid a negative spin, patients must recognize the triggers that set off the cycle and the environments that make them more susceptible to those triggers. A negative state of mind is not caused by a single emotion; it is the build-up of triggers, or past events, that distort reality. Enough stress with these triggers and it can lead to or exacerbate disease. (1).

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