The One You Feed Podcast - Managing Rumination

I was fortunate to come across this podcast recently.  Not only are there some really great guests that tell amazing stories of accomplishment, but it's given me a couple of simple tools that I'm finding success with. 

The One You Feed Podcast is based on this parable:

An old grandfather told his grandson: “My son, there is a battle between two wolves inside us all. One is evil. It is anger, jealousy, greed, and resentment. The other is good. It is joy, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy, and bravery.”
The boy thought about it, and asked, “Grandfather, which wolf wins?”
The old man quietly replied, “The one you feed.”

The episode in particular that caught my attention was Mini Episode #6- Rumination-Round and Round.  The premise of the episode is that allowing yourself to think compulsively about your distress, rumination, is very damaging to overall mental health.  I struggle immensely with rumination and I've had a very hard time getting it under control.  I was grateful to listen to this particular episode because it gave a very simple and direct approach that I had not even considered.  

Changing your mind to anything, anything else, is better than ruminating.  An example the host gives is to count backwards from 100 to 0.  If that doesn't work, count backwards in intervals of 3.  It may sound incredibly simple, but it has actually been working for me.  When I find myself with the same terrible thoughts over and over again, I've actually been able to simply count backwards, and it has helped.

In a previous post, Managing Regret, we met Kathryn Shulz, who in her TED talk, describes the 4th characteristic of regret as perseveration.  It sounds to me like rumination and perseveration are very closely related.

Constantly rethinking the same thoughts doesn't help anything, and just makes me more anxious than I already am.  It's a lot easier said than done to make it stop, and I'll admit, I have a hard time remembering that I have the ability to make them stop when it's going on. I'm trying to be more aware, and actively take steps to change my mind to something else when I find myself ruminating.