To ruminate means "to mull something over: to think carefully and at length about something" (Encarta world dictionary, 2009).
It also is perhaps more commonly associated with animals who chew their own cud.
Yikes! I was shocked at how much it sounded like my mindset over the past 5 years. I used to call my best friends Lindsey and Angela and go over, rehash, and then go over again and again the struggles I was going through in my life. I would call my mom or sister and rehash the same things again- and then to my poor husband, Jeremy, who listened so sweetly and offered such encouragement! Then I would rehash in my mind, in my journal, and then call Lindsey and Angela again. I would pray to God about them, and journal some more. I blamed my behaviors of rehashing on being a verbal processor, but after reading this article, it really sounded like my ruminating habit was just made more obvious by verbal processing. I know that my friendship isn't the only contributing factors to my friends career choices, but I find it a (funny) coincidence that both Lindsey and Angela got their masters degree in counseling over the past 3 years! Ha...glad I could help you add counseling hours, ladies!
All kidding aside, I truly realized that this was an issue in my life, before ever hearing about the idea of ruminating as a "problem." I realized I lacked thankfullness and positivity that were two of my greatest strengths throughout my life. I almost felt like I wasn't myself, but couldn't really find my way out. It was really hard, and to my credit, there were so many changes and struggles over the past 5 years that it makes sense to have had a low in an otherwise happy life.
BUT, I don't want to be a cow!! Oh no, no, no....I want to be something more like this:
Yes, that is more me, shall we say (ha, and it is me). And, you know what I realized? Choosing to be thankful, each morning- and I mean, each and every morning, first thing when I woke up, really helped. I realized I had been stewing over everything that had gone wrong in my life, why my life wasn't fair, and my frustrations with God that despite me being faithful, I didn't feel like He was being faithful in the ways I thought He should be. and you know what? It had gotten me nowhere!
Have you every had those realizations? Mind you, it took me several years to realize this in my own life, but let's not stew over that! Let's just be thankful that we make those realizations, and that we have our journey to look back on and know we have been refined into a better likeness.
I can't end this post and not mention how blessed I am that my friends stuck with me and helped me process! Many would have told me to "get over it" and to stop bothering them, so let's raise a glass them!
Here are two question to leave you with before we part:
1. what are you ruminating about?
2. Are you willing to choose thankfulness instead?
That daily choice could help you break free from a negative mental cycle, and help you live a more fulfilling life of hope, peace and joy!