Indeed, because the habit is based on the strong associative representation, it will continue to be enacted even when it is at odds with what the person wants to do. Be as specific as possible and also realistic with your expectations. For example, ask yourself what you hear, feel, smell, see and taste. Mindfulness is an important skill for enjoying the significant moments in life. When you notice your mind wandering, gently guide it back to the present.
In other words, it is possible to reduce worry and rumination by identifying and then removing the cues to rumination. This account of habit formation emphasises that repeated performance of any behavior including thinking in a particular way such as rumination in a consistent set of circumstances causes the behavioral response e. Reflecting on past experiences can be helpful in problem-solving and overcoming dilemmas, but brooding rumination takes this to the next level. This conditioning and associative learning account of habit formation has a number of important implications. When you find yourself with a repeating loop of thoughts in your mind, seek out a quiet space. Create a support system. Thinking more about how your troubling thought might not be accurate may help you stop ruminating because you realize the thought makes little sense. Constantly work on building your self-esteem by taking care of yourself and doing things you enjoy and excel at. This allows for a time and place to think about all your biggest insecurities while containing it to a specific period of time. Because the context-response pairing is acquired slowly with experience over time, it is highly resistant to change and does not alter easily to changes in related goals or beliefs or occasional deliberate attempts to act counter to the habitual response. Increase your awareness of the cues to worry and rumination by monitoring your rumination and keeping a record or diary of when, where, and how you tend to ruminate. Similarly, you should not consider difficulties to reduce rumination as a failure of will-power or your desire to change. Fortunately, there is a well-developed evidence base for how to change habits, which indicates that it is possible to change habits. Despite these negative consequences of rumination, many people report that they find it very hard to stop ruminating. First identify problems in your life and then start taking actions to solve your problems, one step at a time Set your own expectations. The particular cue s will vary greatly and be idiosyncratic to each person —hence the value in spending time working out your own individual triggers. These ideas have been incorporated into our cognitive-behavioral therapy for rumination rumination-focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy — see article which we found successfully reduced depression and rumination when added to antidepressant medication , relative to antidepressant medication only with treatment-resistant depression, in a randomized controlled trial. This requires repeated practice again and again at an alternative behavior in the same context and circumstances as triggered the rumination, so that a new context-response pairing is learnt. Removing or replacing these cues would then reduce rumination, e. So it is possible that this approach is helpful at reducing depression. Many people with depression report that they brood repetitively on their symptoms of depression e. According to Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, Ph. For example, if you find that rumination tends to start while lying in bed in the morning, then it might be helpful to change this routine, by getting up straightaway or by listening to the radio. Maybe you are afraid of getting fired or looking foolish in front of others. Try therapy If your ruminating thoughts are taking over your life, you may want to consider therapy.
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