We all have those moments when our minds seem stuck in a never-ending loop, like a hamster running on a wheel.
Recently, I have found myself on a hamster wheel replaying a problem repeatedly, and I have noticed I am not alone, as many of my coaching clients are also stuck on their own hamster wheels.
That is why I wanted to share with you information about rumination.
Rumination is a term that describes a common pattern of thinking that many of us experience at times. When we are ruminating, we repeatedly focus on a problem, a loss, or a setback without moving forward into taking action.
For parents and teen girls, rumination often involves obsessing about issues, replaying them in your mind, and getting lost in those thoughts. This constant replaying can deepen feelings of anxiety, sadness, or even self-blame. It's like being stuck in a loop where you can't let go of these negative thoughts, which continue to affect your mood and well-being.
It's essential to recognize that, especially among teenage girls, rumination can sometimes become a group activity. Girls might find themselves ruminating together with their friends, discussing issues and problems repeatedly. While it's natural to seek support and empathy from friends, it's also very important for your daughter to strike a balance and ensure that these discussions lead to constructive solutions rather than perpetuating negative thought patterns.
The Impact of Rumination
Ruminating not only intensifies anxiety and depression but also keeps our problems unsolved and potentially makes them worse.
Research has found that adolescent girls and women are predisposed to rumination because they tend to value relationships and spend more time processing the often-ambiguous content of them.
Rumination takes a toll on our mental health and has been found to impact:
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Substance Use Disorders
Break Free from the Rumination Wheel
As parents, you play a vital role in helping your teen daughters develop healthy thinking patterns. Here are some strategies to support them (and yourself) in stepping out of the rumination cycle:
1. Open Dialogue:
Create a safe space for open and honest communication with your teen. Encourage her to express her thoughts and feelings without judgment, knowing that you're there to listen and support her.
2. Educate About Rumination:
Help your daughter understand what rumination is and that it's something everyone experiences from time to time. This awareness can reduce feelings of isolation and self-blame.
3. Time Management: Encourage her to set limits on the time spent thinking about a particular problem. After five minutes, guide her to think about the next steps required to address the issue.
4. Distraction Through Action:
Suggest engaging in activities that divert her attention from obsessive thinking. Encourage her to go for a walk, pursue hobbies, or spend time with friends to break the cycle.
5. Seek Professional Help:
If rumination becomes overwhelming and persistent, consider seeking guidance from a mental health professional. Therapy can provide valuable tools for managing rumination and promoting emotional well-being.
The Automatic Negative Thought Handout
Rumination often accompanies Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs) – those intrusive, pessimistic ideas that fuel self-doubt and anxiety. We've prepared an ANT Handout to help your teen daughter. Download NowThe Conflict Iceberg.
Teenagers often ruminate over conflicts with friends, and these conflicts often mask deeper emotions. The Conflict Iceberg (Download now) is a visual tool that helps your daughter explore the hidden emotions beneath surface-level conflicts. Understanding these underlying feelings, she can better navigate and manage her emotional responses. Download Handouts
The Brave Girl Tribe, my online group coaching program for 5th to 8th-grade girls, explored the concept of rumination. The girls discovered what triggers their rumination and acquired effective strategies for self-care when they're struggling to let go of something.
We'd be delighted to welcome your 5th to 8th-grade daughter as our guest for our next coaching call. You can email me or schedule a chat with me to learn more about The Brave Girl Tribe and my other programs. We also have a 50% off the first-month coupon for our new members who join The Brave Girl Tribe in November; simply enter the coupon code NEWFRIEND at checkout.
We meet on Sundays at 7 pm EST/ 6 pm CST/ 4 pm PST, and the calls are recorded. If our daughter needs to miss a call, she will have access to the recording and all of the tools and resources to support her in building her confidence.
"Don't let negative thoughts steer your ship. You are the captain of your destiny; choose the course of positivity."