As Christians, it is important to guard our thoughts and avoid dwelling excessively on negative experiences. Rumination, which is defined as repetitively fixating on the causes, meaning, and consequences of one’s distress, can lead to chronic stress and worsen mental health difficulties. There are two subtypes of rumination, brooding, and reflection. Brooding involves passively dwelling on one’s distress without active attempts at problem-solving, while reflection is more analytical and involves attempts to understand the reasons for one’s distress. While reflective rumination might seem beneficial, it has also been linked to mental health problems.
Research has linked rumination to the onset, continuation, and recurrence of multiple psychological disorders, including major depressive episodes, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, alcohol/substance use disorders, and eating disorders.
Rumination can worsen negative emotions and contribute to a vicious cycle. It is important to recognize when we are engaging in rumination and take steps to stop the habit. One way to do this is to focus on the present moment and practice mindfulness. This means being aware of what is happening at the moment without judgment. We can also practice gratitude and focus on the blessings in our lives.
How does the Bible tell us to deal with Rumination?
The Bible encourages us to focus on positive thoughts and avoid dwelling on negative thoughts. In Philippians 4:8, we are reminded to think about things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. We can also find comfort in the promise of God’s presence in our lives. In Psalm 94:19, we are reminded that God will comfort us and provide relief from our worries.
As Christians, we can turn to God in prayer and seek comfort and guidance. In Matthew 11:28-29, Jesus invites us to come to Him when we are weary and burdened and promises to give us rest. We can also find strength in our faith community and seek support from others.
Rumination can be harmful to our mental health and well-being. As Christians, we can guard our thoughts and focus on positive thoughts and experiences. We can practice mindfulness, and gratitude, and seek support from our faith community and God. It is important to recognize when we are engaging in rumination and take steps to stop the habit. By doing so, we can improve our mental health and find peace in our lives.
Action Steps for Rumination:
- Practice mindfulness by being aware of what is happening in the present moment without judgment.
- Focus on positive thoughts and experiences and practice gratitude.
- Turn to prayer for comfort and guidance.
- Seek support from your Church and God.
- Consider seeking a Christian counselor