I am a ruminator. Master level 99. I can take an innocent comment or minor situation and turn it inside out, upside down, take it down the street, around the corner, through the Bermuda Triangle and back. Here’s what happens to excessive ruminators like me:
- We over-analyze situations so pedantically that we make them a lot worse in our minds than they are in reality. And even though rumination makes us feel a lot worse we do it anyway. Over-thinking offers a false sense of control.
- We keep ourselves up at night thinking about a problem, looking at it from every possible angle. Sadly, this excessive analysis rarely yields any workable solutions, except “Run and hide. Don’t come out until things are better.”
- We create every worst-case scenario possible, often elaborate ones that are unlikely to happen, but somehow, we imagine they could. I lovingly call this tendency, “Going to my dark place.”
- We read between the lines, because we never take any comment we receive at face value. We always assume there is some underlying hostility or veiled insult. We can spend hours thinking about an offhand comment.
Like that wasn’t enough trouble, when I compared excessive ruminators and non-ruminators who took Queendom’s Emotional Intelligence Test, here’s what else I discovered:
Not surprisingly, Ruminators are less content with their life.
- Score for ruminating group on Contentment: 35
- Score for non-ruminating group on Contentment: 84 (on a scale from 0 to 100).
Why? Because we’re often so focused on everything that could possibly go wrong that we have no time to pay attention to what’s going right.
Ruminators have a lot of difficulty regulating their emotions.
- Score for ruminating group on Emotional Regulation: 31
- Score for non-ruminating group on Emotional Regulation: 80
Why? Because the endless rampage of negative and haunting thoughts creates an upsurge of stress-related emotions. Scattered, wild thinking leads to scattered, wild feelings. Essentially, when you don’t make it a point to consciously choose your thoughts (and you have the power to do so!), it causes a chain reaction where your emotions become extremely difficult to manage.
Rumination tends to go hand-in-hand with self-esteem issues.
- Score for ruminating group on Self-esteem: 44
- Score for non-ruminating group on Self-esteem: 89
Why? Because the basis of rumination is the belief that we don’t have what it takes to deal with an issue. If you’ve ruminated, chances are you’ve said something along the lines of, “What the heck am I going to do? I don’t know what to do, I don’t know how to deal with this” all of which is a sign of self-doubt. Similarly, the basis of low self-esteem is an inability to recognize our value, our power. If you have low self-esteem, there’s a good chance that you are also a ruminator.
Ruminators tend to have a lot of difficulty motivating themselves to take action.
- Score for ruminating group on Self-motivation: 41
- Score for non-ruminating group on Self-motivation: 84
Why? Because we’re just not sure what is the right thing to do. We jump from one concern to another, one possible solution to another, poking holes in everything until we sink in our worries. Basically, it’s really hard to take action when you endlessly analyze the viability of the action. Ruminators can be rather indecisive.
Ruminators find it hard to maintain a positive mindset.
- Score for ruminating group on Positive Mindset: 43
- Score for non-ruminating group on Positive Mindset: 85
Why? Evidently, if you spend more time imagining worst-case scenarios or focusing on the bad side of a situation, it will be really hard to visualize your world being filled with rainbows, unicorns, and cotton candy. Not surprisingly, ruminators are more likely to be pessimists.
Stay tuned for Part 2!