Rumination. It has a bad reputation in the psychology world, but where would we be without it?

Whenever is unresolved and important enough for us, attention goes there. Again and again.

It is an invitation to find a resolution, even if it is to a past event that only lives on in our minds.

We may find a resolution through talking about it with others. Especially if they don’t agree with us and offer a new and fresh viewpoint.

We may find a resolution through tiring of our old and habitual ways of approaching it, and finding another that works a little better. Such as taking responsibility for our own choices, actions, and how we relate to our inner and outer situation. Or exploring the beliefs behind it and finding what is more true and honest for us. Or even welcoming and allowing the stress that comes from it, with some compassion for ourselves.

I wouldn’t be surprised if rumination is not built into us by evolution.

If we stubbornly insist on approaching the topic of rumination the same way, then rumination is not so helpful for us.

But if we tire and change our approach, or are receptive to a new approach from the beginning, then rumination can be very helpful.

It is one of the ways we find resolution. Learn. Grow. Embrace more of our humanity.


  • the gifts of rumination
    • rumination – attention/thoughts/emotions returning to same topic, story, event
    • an invitation to explore, see more clearly
    • attention is “glued” to it, until resolution of some sort
    • if fuel habitual views/responses, then keep returning
    • if receptivity, curiosity, open for change, then may learn, grow, recognize, find more clarity
    • evolutionary function, helps us learn, find more alignment with reality

– rumination
– attention returns to a belief + reactive emotions (emotionally invested in the story)
– invitation to (a) allow experience, (b) explore/inquire into story, (c) act to set it right in the world, in relationships etc.
— also, tendency to want to talk about it with others, which invites other perspectives, new insights, release from old story (in the best case)

– rumination
— if fuel habitual views/approaches, then stress, discomfort (regrets, anger, frustration, blame, complaining, lack of sleep, distracted attention/poor ability to focus and concentrate, etc.)

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