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Getting stuck with the same thoughts: Obsessive rumination in times of COVID19 ?

Getting stuck with the same thoughts: Obsessive rumination in times of COVID19 ?

Has your head ever been filled with one single thought, or a string of thoughts, that just keep repeating… and repeating… and repeating themselves?

Obsessive thinking can be adaptive, when it is directed toward healthy goals and real problems with attainable solutions. But for many people, this process breaks down. We’re here to talk about the other side of obsessive thinking: obsessive rumination.

The process of continuously thinking about the same thoughts, which tend to be sad or gloomy, is called rumination.

Rumination is focused on past events. It is a preoccupation with perceived mistakes, losses, slights, actions taken or not taken, opportunities forever lost. The feelings associated with obsessive rumination are guilt, regret, anger and envy. Rumination is often accompanied by harsh judgments, criticism, grudges, toward both self and others, and the overwhelming belief that if things had only been different then existing and future misery could have been avoided.

People ruminate for a variety of reasons. According to the American Psychological Association some common reasons for rumination include:

  • Belief that by ruminating, you’ll gain insight into your life or a problem.
  • Having a history of emotional or physical trauma.
  • Facing ongoing stressors that can’t be controlled.

Ruminating is also common in people who possess certain personality characteristics, which include perfectionism, neuroticism, and an excessive focus on one’s relationships with others.

A habit of rumination can be dangerous to your mental health, as it can prolong or intensify depression as well as impair your ability to think and process emotions. It may also cause you to feel isolated and can, in reality, push people away.

Obsessive ruminations can also be a symptom of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder which can include thoughts about:

  • Cleanliness
  • Fear of harming someone
  • Disturbing thoughts of inappropriate sexual activities
  • Intense thoughts of constant perfection
  • Philosophical or existential obsessions

Along with these unreasonable thoughts and fears, compulsive behaviours can also occur in OCD which may include:

  • Constantly cleaning or washing
  • Avoiding certain places or people to prevent being triggered
  • Repeatedly checking things, e.g., switches, locks
  • Counting, tapping or doing some other behaviour in order to neutralise harm from something

The time spent on the intrusive thoughts can impact a person’s life significantly and can prevent them from completing important tasks. A person may become so occupied with their obsessions that they withdraw from their relationships and other obligations.

As when a ball is rolling downhill, it’s easier to stop the ruminating thoughts when they first start rolling and have less speed than when they’ve gathered speed over time.

It’s also important to be proactive and take steps to prevent yourself from ruminating in the first place.

Some tips to address the ruminating thoughts-

  • Distract yourself
  • Readjust your life goals
  • Work on enhancing your self-esteem.
  • Identify the triggers
  • Meditation
  • Take Action- Try Therapy.

With all the emphasis on maintaining hygiene and cleanliness along with fear of COVID, some people may experience an increase in obsessive rumination and compulsive behaviours. If these begin to interfere with ability to carry out your daily activities, it is important to seek professional help from a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist.

This is especially difficult for elders to deal with especially seniors who are already under dementia care. Senior care in India is well-developed these days and one can get their hands on the best elder care or home care services for seniors.
If you are looking for online counselling support or elder care homes in Delhi, which is safe and best during these challenging times, then trust Samvedna Care. Our team of seasoned experts have extensive experience in counselling services and can help you in overcoming this daunting phase. It is always best to talk out your concerns and sometimes it is only a professional who can come to your rescue. You can book an appointment here and consult from the comfort of your home.

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