Rumination is a silent ailment for those who have gone through trauma. It keeps us thinking about the more sinister aspects of our pasts and halts our growth for the future. We all have had our own experiences and interpretation of events and sometimes we wish we would have acted a certain way or said certain things. We continue to live in that moment, constantly looking at it from different angles and looking at new outcomes. This may seem like it is helping us to move on from the incident, but in the long term, it keeps us trapped in that mental space. I have had many experiences in my life that I ruminate on constantly due to many things (high stress, undesired outcome, needing to feel like I came out on top, etc) and I’ve taken steps to ensure that I can continue to move forward despite the traps of the past trying to take hold.
Therapy was a great way for me to get down to the bottom of what made me ruminate on things from my past. Coming to terms with what happened and being able to learn from my it allows me to be more aware in my present and really grasp new situations as they occur. Also, being able to talk to someone allowed me to get a different perspective on why I am still even thinking about a certain situation in the first place. I also practice mindfulness to catch myself when I begin to go down the rabbit hole of negative thoughts. By pausing and taking hold of my current self, I can stop the gravy train of negativity that throws me back in the past. We can get triggered by the simplest things, so it pays to practice staying in the moment and remembering that we are beyond the past and staying vigilant. Meditation can be a wonderful tool as well, as it does allow us to look within ourselves and take a deep look at the core of the issue we have with a past experience. We just need to make sure not to fall back into that experience and relive the bad parts again searching our subconscious. All these tools and more can allow us to move forward with our lives and release the shackles that try to bind us to what we went through before. Our experiences may shape us, but they don’t define us.
Everyday we try to live our lives and hopefully improve on certain key aspects. We try to gain more education, money, power, etc. In order to grow and evolve, we need to move forward, not backward. That isn’t to say that our past experiences shouldn’t mean anything to us, but at the same time, a traumatic moment in your past or having had to deal with a volatile person should not be the blueprint for your future. Rumination attempts to keep you in a bubble of negativity, and once you realize that the bubble is your own creation, you will be able to see the light and move on from the past. You will be able to take the lessons learned, and continue to improve and becoming a better you.
The above is a book I recommend, as it utilizes CBT (Cognitive behavioral therapy) in the tips it provides in helping with rumination and the negative thoughts it tries to pervade our minds with. You need to continue to move forward and be a better you and it starts with leaving the past in the past and only moving forward with lessons learned.