So what is rumination? Many animals, such as cows or goats, have multiple stomach compartments and so after initially eating some grass, will regurgitate it again to chew on it and then swallow it again in a more digestible state.
As humans, we have the wonderful ability to remember things and to bring them back to our conscious minds, to relive the experience again. Going over old photo albums of a family holiday, can bring back all sorts of positive emotions as we relive those experiences. We often apply a very positive filter, that makes them unrealistically perfect – but hey, they are our memories, so why not embellish them in a positive way.
The problem is, often in a work environment we do the opposite. Based on some biases that we have in our belief system of who and what we are, we replay conversations in our heads and add all sorts of negative meanings and connotations that are not necessarily there. We become expert mind readers, and often to the detriment of our own happiness. Guy Winch (PH.D), writing in a recent Psychology Today magasine wrote “When we ruminate, we seldom gain insights into them. Instead, we replay upsetting scenarios in our heads, which only increases the brooding and makes us feel worse.”
So next time you get yourself into a negative, unhealthy spiral when thinking about your work colleagues or bosses, stop the cycle and leave the ruminating to the cows.
You will be a much happier person for it!