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When Ruminating Becomes a Problem

Everyone ruminates. We especially ruminate when we’re stressed out. Maybe you’re ruminating about an upcoming test—you have to score an A to keep your scholarship. Maybe you’re ruminating about an upcoming presentation because you want to impress your boss. Maybe you’re ruminating about an upcoming date and the many ways it could go. Maybe you’re ruminating about a bad performance review. Maybe you’re ruminating about an injury that’s really been bothering you. “We are evolutionarily wired to obsess,” according to psychiatrist Britton Arey, M.D. We are wired to sense threats and dangers in our environment—like lions who are waiting around the corner to consume us. “The people who didn’t ruminate about the lion were more likely to get eaten by it, and therefore, much less likely to pass along their genes, from an evolutionary standpoint.” Today, with less lions and other predators and less looming threats, ruminating isn’t particularly helpful. But, again, it is normal—to an extent. As Arey said, normal ruminating passes after a period of time after the stress is over; is susceptible to distraction by someone or something that pulls away our attention; and doesn’t interfere with our ability to function. And that’s the key. Because ruminating becomes problematic when it impairs our ability to function healthfully. It becomes problematic when we’re unable to maintain...
Source: Psych Central - Category: Psychiatry Authors: Tags: Anorexia Anxiety Binge Eating Bulimia Depression Disorders Eating Disorders General Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Panic Disorder Psychology Stress Treatment Anxiety Disorders Distressing Thoughts Mindfulness Negative Thinki Source Type: news

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