18 Oct Rumination
I read an article today about a UK study concerning rumination, or self-blame, and its relationship to anxiety and depression. While I think we all understand that depressed and anxious people tend to ruminate on the problems in their lives, I don’t think that we usually consider that this kind of circular thinking might be causative.
The study states;
“We found that people who didn’t ruminate or blame themselves for their difficulties had much lower levels of depression and anxiety, even if they’d experienced many negative events in their lives,” says Peter Kinderman, who led the study and is a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Liverpool.
“Dwelling on negative thoughts and self blame have previously been recognised as important when it comes to mental health, but not to the extent this study has shown.
“The findings suggest both are crucial psychological pathways to depression and anxiety.”
For those who have read Dr. Sarno’s books you know that he recommends journaling everyday. This writing is meant to be non-specific, but it is helpful if it is about one’s feelings. There are studies that support this idea, showing that writing for as little as 15 mintues a day has profoundly positive effects in terms of lessening anxiety and depression. However, I think its also important that this kind of writing be done in a balanced manner. When we think about the journaling as “work” to dredge up negative thoughts- and then stew in those thoughts rather than process, observe, and let them go, we can get stuck in cycles that aren’t helpful. Balance in all things.