A common challenge blocking the path to recovery for many people who have experienced narcissistic abuse is rumination.
You can use four strategies simultaneously to stop ruminating after experiencing narcissistic abuse:
- Keeping a log of your ruminating thoughts.
- Practicing mindfulness.
- Engaging in positive activities to distract yourself.
- Implementing embodiment practices into your daily routine.
In this article, I will explain the reason these strategies work.
1.) Keep a Log of Your Ruminating Thoughts
Keeping a log of your ruminating thoughts can be a powerful tool in understanding and addressing repetitive, negative thought patterns.
This is because when these thoughts are down on paper, they often lose some of their chaotic and overwhelming nature.
As you continue to document, you’ll likely start noticing patterns. You may see that certain events or specific people consistently lead your mind into a spiral.
Recognizing these patterns, also commonly referred to as triggers, is the first step in proactively managing or even avoiding them.
In addition, the simple act of writing down these thoughts can feel therapeutic, as if you’re offloading a burden, giving your mind a break from its internal chatter.
Over time, this log can serve as a tool for change because once you identify the source of your rumination, you can develop strategies to overcome these thoughts.
It can also serve as a reality check, allowing you to revisit past entries and see how your perceptions or reactions might have shifted over time.
And if you’re in therapy, sharing this log can provide valuable insights to your therapist, helping to guide your sessions more effectively.
To sum this section up, keeping a thought log transforms abstract, overwhelming ruminations into something more concrete.
It’s a mirror for your mind, reflecting back its intricacies and providing a clear path toward positive change.
2.) Practice Mindfulness
Practicing mindfulness is like fine-tuning your inner awareness.
At its core, mindfulness is about being fully anchored in the present moment, experiencing it without trying to change or judge it.
When we’re mindful, we become keen observers of our thoughts and emotions, almost as if we’re watching them from a distance.
This observational skill is especially crucial when dealing with ruminative thoughts.
For example, let’s say your mind replays a past event or fretts over a potential future scenario.
If you’re practicing mindfulness, you can catch these thoughts early on, almost like spotting a familiar face in a crowd.
Instead of getting swept away by these ruminations, mindfulness allows you to acknowledge them, “Oh, there’s that thought again,” and then choose to redirect your focus back to the present gently.
In essence, mindfulness builds mental resilience.
Just as keeping a log provides an external framework to understand and track your thoughts, mindfulness offers an internal mechanism to manage them.
It’s like strengthening a mental muscle, training your mind to stay centered in the now.
By doing so, you’re actively countering the nature of rumination, which often involves being stuck in the past or anxious about the future.
Suggested Reading: 10 Ways to Love Yourself After Narcissistic Abuse
3.) Engage In Positive Activities to Distract Yourself
Engaging in positive activities is like giving your mind a refreshing vacation from the repetitive loops of rumination.
Imagine your brain as a busy highway.
Ruminative thoughts are like constant traffic on the same old route. Distracting yourself with positive activities is like taking a scenic detour that breaks the dullness.
When you immerse yourself in activities you genuinely enjoy—be it reading a novel, drawing, strumming a guitar, or tending to your garden—you’re not just passing time.
You’re providing your mind with new stimuli, experiences, and challenges.
This immersion, often called “flow,” is a state where you’re so engrossed in the task at hand that everything else fades into the background.
It’s like being in a protective bubble where ruminative thoughts find it hard to penetrate. But there’s more to it than just temporary distraction.
Each time you redirect your attention to a positive activity, you reinforce a mental habit.
Just as a muscle gets stronger with regular exercise, your mind, with repeated practice, learns to pivot away from negative spirals with greater ease.
Over time, this doesn’t just become a way to escape ruminative thoughts; it becomes a proactive strategy to prevent them.
So, diving into activities you love isn’t just about enjoyment; it’s also a therapeutic tool.
By consistently seeking out these moments of joy and immersion, you’re teaching your mind a healthier way to navigate its internal landscape.
This makes the journey away from rumination both purposeful and pleasurable.
Suggested Reading: 10 Simple Steps for Finding Happiness After Narcissistic Abuse
4.) Implement Embodiment Practices Into Your Daily Routine
Embodiment practices bridge the realms of the mind and the body.
When we’re ruminating, we’re often lost in abstract thought, disconnected from the here and now.
Incorporating practices like yoga, dance, or mindful walking is like setting up signposts that guide our consciousness back to the tangible present.
Imagine you’re on a ship in a stormy sea.
The waves represent ruminative thoughts, threatening to toss you around. Embodiment practices are like dropping an anchor to stabilize the ship.
When you’re moving through yoga poses, dancing to a rhythm, or mindfully feeling each step during a walk, you’re grounding yourself.
You’re rooting your awareness in the physical sensations of the moment.
Each stretch, dance move, and step taken with awareness bring you back to the present.
These activities invite you to focus on the feel of your muscles contracting, the beat of your heart, the rhythm of your breath, and the sensation of the ground beneath you.
This level of attention to your body’s experience creates a protective barrier against ruminative thought patterns. There’s less room for them when you’re deeply attuned to the present moment.
Incorporating embodiment practices daily is like regular maintenance for this bridge between mind and body.
Each time you engage in these activities, you’re reinforcing the habit of being present, training your mind to find solace and stability in the present.
So, while rumination tries to pull you from the present, practices like yoga, dance, or mindful walking keep you anchored, offering stability in the stormy seas of thought.
What Should You Take Away from This Article?
Now that you better understand why these four strategies will help you overcome rumination, it is time to take action.
I hope this article brought you value. Thank you for taking the time to read it.
About the Author
Hey, I’m Elijah.
I experienced narcissistic abuse for three years.
I create these articles to help you understand and validate your experiences.
Thank you for reading, and remember, healing is possible even when it feels impossible.