Rumination tends to be eased if we learn to be mindful. – Peter Kinderman
Have you ever heard of the word, “Ruminate?” I am pretty sure most of you have. Then again, have YOU ever ruminated about a past troubling event? If so, you might like this quick article.
Sterling, Colorado is pretty much an agricultural area surrounded by numerous cattle. If you have ever been around cattle before, you might also enjoy this quick article.
So, how does ruminating and cattle even go together? I mean one is a simple animal that basically eats and sleeps, while the other is a form of mental activity we humans tend to do way too much.
Well, we need to look to the origin of the word “ruminate” to find the answer. According to Webster Online, “Ruminate derives from and shares the meanings of the Latin, ruminari, which in turn comes from “rumen,” the Latin name for the first stomach compartment of ruminant animals (like cows that chew their cud).”
So, pretty much, the word ruminate comes from what a cow does to its food. The cow munches on the grass, and then chews, chews, and chews again. Eventually the cow swallows the grass and leaves it to digest just a bit before regurgitating it back into its mouth to chew again! Thus, the phrase, the cow is chewing its cud. Then repeating the cycle over and over again. That’s ruminating!
Ruminating is quite healthy for a cow, but not for the human psyche! When we ruminate, we tend to chew on our own mental cud over and over again. Eventually we swallow it and go on about our day. Later, we may regurgitate it back up again so we can chew on it some more. Sound gross! Yep!! Then why do we continue to do it?
Science continues to demonstrate research showing that those who tend to be unhappy also tend to ruminate over the things that bother them. Going further, those who have a habit of ruminating will be unable to become truly happy until they break the habit of ruminating.
Science also shows that truly happy people have the ability to distract and absorb themselves in activities that divert their attention from harmful ruminations. Essentially, they have the ability to spit out the cud and get on to more fulfilling activities!
There is a simple two step formula for you to distract and absorb yourself in a different activity; essentially stopping the rumination and spitting out that yucky regurgitated mental cud.
First step is to do something different than what you are doing at the moment of rumination. Sound simple? Yes, it is. Just DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT!
Then the next step occurs while you are doing something different. While you are doing something different, you want to engage all your five senses and hyperfocus your attention on exactly what you are doing in that moment; experts call it mindfulness.
For example, you notice yourself ruminating about a past unpleasant experience. Stop ruminating by doing something different. You decide to eat your favorite meal. While eating your meal, hyperfocus on what you are doing. Are you able to feel the fork in your hand? How about the chair you are sitting on? Do you notice any smells? How does that food taste and feel in your mouth? What you need to do is hyperfocus on what you are doing using your five senses.
Sometimes that rumination doesn’t want to go away and leave you alone. So, if the rumination begins to reappear, simply repeat the above process until you are free of the rumination! Spit out the cud!
ABOUT CHRIS SWENSON
Chris Swenson is a licensed Couple and Family Therapist currently helping people spit out the cud in their lives at his private practice counseling office in Sterling, CO (Rhino Wellness Center). To contact Chris, you can call 970-522-0796 or schedule an appointment online at www.rhinowellnesscenter.com