One of the most intriguing and disgusting facts of nature is a cow’s digestive process. Cows barely chew their food and sometimes swallow it whole. Then they regurgitate (aka vomit) the food back into their mouth, and re-chew it and re-swallow it. This process continues until the food is completely digested in one to three days. The process is called rumination. (a little more than gross)
Holy Cow!! I am cow! Well sometimes. But it is not food that I regurgitate but negative thoughts, slights and insults. I swallow them whole or barely-chewed and then I regurgitate those things – chewing them repeatedly in my brain over and over again. But while a cow get nourishment from this process all I get is waste – wasted time and energy. Here is how I am working on this problem
1. I recognize when I am doing it – I am NOT a cow.
2. I reject those things that I know to be untrue or don’t really matter.
I have been in a relationship with the same man for more than 5 years. We have mutually decided not to get married. Some people imply that this shows a lack of commitment to the partnership. I know this is untrue and anyone who really know us know this to be untrue. For the rest, it doesn’t really matter what they think.
3. I re-evaluate situations and relationships that keep coming back up in a negative way.
Over time for me it has been a job, a friendship,and participation in a group. A detached assessment – something as simple as a pro/con list helped me see the situation in a more unemotional light.
4. I respond in a positive manner when appropriate
I make an action plan to respond to the issue. I changed jobs and paid more attention to what would be required of me. I established boundaries in the friendship. I stepped back from my role in the group limiting my responsibility and direct interaction with certain people.
5. I recognize when release is the only option
Despite my attempt to set boundaries in a friendship, that didn’t solve the problem so I ended the friendship. At times I released the problem or issue to a professional (as in my current set of circumstances). I do not consider these as failures but as a wise choice for my emotional well-being.
6. I replace negatives with positives
I purposefully schedule activities that are enjoyable and take my mind off my problems. I pay extra attention to the good things and devote my energies to adding to my One Little Thing list.
In truth, I will probably always be a bit bovine, but these strategies have helped me break the cycle of rumination. Do you have any strategies that you find helpful when you catch yourself regurgitating negative thoughts? Or maybe you tried one of these strategies yourself. I hope you will share them with me.