Do you ever find yourself getting lost in a stream of negative thoughts, or playing your failures over and over again in your head? If so, you are not alone.
Stress, burnout, and anxiety are unfortunately all common aspects of modern working life. Here at WeLearn’s Learning Development blog, however, we believe that you have the power to take control of your mental health and work towards being a happier, healthier employee.
Research suggests that rumination is one of the leading causes of stress amongst people of all ages and backgrounds. This post will help you understand what exactly rumination is, why it hurts us, and how you can work to combat it.
Educational Pathways In The Workplace and Beyond
What is Rumination? Rumination can be defined as the tendency to continually analyze, worry, and obsess over our past or potential failures. For example, if you find yourself spiraling into a worst-case scenario situation at 2 A.M, you are likely ruminating on a difficult subject.
Maybe you’ve left a meeting where you stuttered and can’t stop thinking about what you could have done differently. Or perhaps you find your mind wandering and replaying that negative experience with a coworker over and over again. While there’s nothing useful about these negative and obsessive thoughts, they are easy to fall into, difficult to get out of, and detrimental to your mental health.
People who don’t ruminate still have pressures, hardships, and problems in their lives: the difference is they don’t let themselves be dragged down into a cycle of negativity. To feel better, work better, and lead better, you must stop ruminating and help your team do the same. But how do we begin?
Employee Engagement Begins On The Inside
Choose To Be Present: Recent studies suggest that people spend half of their waking hours daydreaming. During this time, we are removed from the present moment and are at risk of ruminating on future or past events. To reduce stress and burnout, you first need to become aware of when you feel your thoughts spiraling out of control.
When you feel the negative, obsessive thinking creeping in, take a moment to focus on where you are, what you are doing, and who you are within the present moment. Once you begin to finally focus on that task from your senior leader, it will help ground you in reality and give you a fresh perspective on your emotions.
It might also help to rid yourself of digital distractions at the office. If you find yourself getting depressed and ruminating on your professional and personal imperfections after a lengthy scroll through Facebook, you aren’t alone. Facebook, Instagram, or other social media platforms, have been proven to negatively impact mental health, and often present us with unattainable standards of life and beauty.
Staying Constantly Connected To Yourself
Choose To Detach: Being detached from something doesn’t mean you don’t care about it. Rather, it means that you can gain perspective on the situation. When you experience rumination, problems blow out of proportion, and your sense of reality shifts.
For example, your ruminating mind might tell you that not getting your dream job has officially ruined your career, when in reality, you are disappointed because you didn’t achieve your goal on the first try. You are not in a different position than you were before, and the only things that have changed are your feelings about your potential and worth.
Once you step outside of the situation, you’ll be able to see that your life is still the same as it was before to not getting the position, that you still have a future, and that even the most successful essential stakeholders have faced failure
Choose To Let Go: To maintain perspective, it’s important to let go of things that are outside of your control. For example, perhaps you find yourself worrying about the latest application you sent in for the new position in the office, and can’t stop obsessively thinking about if you will be accepted for the job or not.
Before things spiral out of control, ask yourself this question:
“Will continuing to focus on this help me, my people, or my organization?”
If not, let it go. While it’s ok to think about your application and get it just right before you send it, once it is out of your hands, you owe it to yourself to no longer worry about it.
WeLearn’s Learning Development Blog: We Believe In You
Rumination can hurt us, but reflection can heal us. Reflection is different from rumination in the sense that one thinks positively or neutrally over a problem they can control, with the goal of arriving at a solution.
Do you find it hard to stop ruminating at work or home? If so, what helps ground you and be present? Share your thoughts and feelings here with us at WeLearn’s Learning Development Blog, because we are here to help you work towards becoming a productive, positive employee.