Friday, August 19, 2022

Dealing With Rumination


How to deal with unwanted thoughts that keep running through your head

~~Watch the Video~~

Worship - You’re Bigger by Jekalyn Carr

(2) You're Bigger by Jekalyn Carr (Live Performance) Official Video - YouTube


  • Introduction
  • Traits of Wholeness
  • Rumination and Intrusive Thoughts
  • Review Intrusive Thoughts Part 1
  • Projection
  • Strategies
    • Relational
    • Uncertainty / Anxiety / Fear
    • Take Action to Resolve the Issue
    • Seek Wise Counsel


  • 2 Corinthians 10:3-6
  • Matthew 6: 19-21
  • Proverbs 29:25
  • Matthew 7:12
  • Ephesians 4:32
  • James 5:9
  • Luke 6:37
  • Proverbs 16:3
  • Jeremiah 29:11
  • Proverbs 3:6
  • Isaiah 32:8
  • Proverbs 11:14

2 Corinthians 10:3-6

3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not wage battle according to the flesh, 4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5 We are destroying arguments and all arrogance raised against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, 6 and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.


Taking every thought captive

How many thoughts do you think we have each day?

We have 16 to 18,000 thoughts each day.  

3 Categories of negative talk

Negative Self talk

“Why did I do that…I”m so stupid”

“Why do I always…”

The goal is not to stop negative self talk completely. A little self criticism can be a good thing.  You can give your reality check and motivate you to be a better person.

Thoughts Provoked by an known trigger

  • Someone said or did something
  • Regret from the past action
  • Past trauma
  • Fear of specific future event
  • Interaction with someone
  • Specific problem
  • Unmet need

Example: I can just hit the bicyclist

  • The flipped you off

Unprovoked (or unknown trigger)

The thought just popped into your head

  1. Make you question yourself
  2. Not pleasurable

Example: I can just hit the bicyclist

  • No reason

Example: what if I just drove off this cliff

You may immediately dismiss it

Today we’ll focus mainly on provoked thoughts

In the next lesson we’ll address unprovoked thoughts

Traits of Wholeness


Neither myself nor any of the participants are licensed clinical professionals.  These are opinions that we believe to be inspired by the Holy Spirit and/or personal life experience and are for educational purposes not medical advice.

We are in our series called Seeking Wholeness

How can we be  _______ healthy

  • spiritually
  • emotionally
  • mentally

Dealing with life’s current stresses and also being healed from experiences/wounds of the past

We’re not just supposed to have eternal life

  • We’re supposed to have: joy, peace, patience, and self control here on earth

Learning not just what The Word instructs us to do, but learning how to implement it in our lives

Traits of Wholeness

  • Authenticity
  • Honesty
  • Kindness
  • Not seeking external approval / validation
  • Living by values and principles
  • Setting Boundaries
  • Taking ownership of your responsibilities
  • Living with purpose and passion
  • Optimism
  • Confidence
  • Healthy relationships with others
  • Not losing control of your emotions
  • Free from addictions
  • Addressing Conflict with truth and love
  • Vulnerability
  • Not critical or Judgemental
  • Not jealous
  • Genuinely applaud the success of others
  • Forgive those who have wronged you in the past
  • Know that you’re worthy of receiving love
  • Not afraid to fail
  • Able to manage irrational fear, worry, and anxiety
  • Selfless encounters with others
  • Not manipulating others trying to control their actions/reactions
  • You care about how others feel
  • Patient
  • Don’t give into peer/social pressure
  • Can communicate directly
  • Don’t take responsibility for other people's emotions
  • Take responsibility for your own emotions
  • Slow to anger
  • Ability to maturely express your wants, needs and desires
  • Being led by the Spirit

We want to become aware and empowered to manage that which we have become aware of.

Awareness without a plan =   more anxiety

Rumination and Intrusive Thoughts


The term ruminate means to run a thought over and over in your mind

Who has heard the term “chewing the cud”?

Chewing the cud

  • The literal meaning first to cows chewing their food swallowing and regurgitating in order to chew it again

Typical ruminations

  • “why do I always get the short end of the stick“
  • “why can’t I be happy like everyone else“

Rumination is also used to describe continuously thinking about the same thoughts, which tend to be

  • sad
  • dark

Anxious ruminations:

  • Thinking about how you could’ve handled the situation differently
  • Worrying about what type of impression you left
  • What did that person mean by that?

You didn’t think anything of it at the time, but at the end of the day when you started running the situation through your head it took on a negative meaning.

Intrusive Thoughts

Intrusive thoughts are thoughts that pop into your mind when you don’t want them to

  • You are trying not to think about them
  • They interrupt what you’re thinking about

Intrusive thoughts are unwanted thoughts that can pop into our heads without warning. They're often repetitive.

They have

  • no purpose
  • no basis in reality

and are perceived as unacceptable

When you are ruminating… You bruid over the thoughts

  • You may not like them but you aren’t working hard to avoid them


  • "I wonder what would happen if I pulled out the bottom carton of eggs at the supermarket and made them all fall"
  • "I could just punch them in the face!"

It's something you'd never do; you're not sure why the thought came into your head, and you might even be disturbed by the thought.

We are concerned with when your thoughts are:

  • uncontrollable
  • persistent
  • negative

Can’t Turn Them Off


  • Pondering
  • Problem solving

You are able to turn it off

Review Intrusive Thoughts Part 1

Where Do Our Thoughts Come From?

Natural or Supernatural

Thoughts can “come from”

  • Satan
  • Ourselves
    • Flesh
    • Brain
    • Heart
    • Memory
  • God / Holy Spirit

Reasons for Ruminating Thoughts

Common reasons for rumination include:

  • Belief that 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
  • Possessing certain personality characteristics
  • Perfectionism
  • Neuroticism
  • Excessive focus on one’s relationships with others.
  • Inner critic
  • Mistakes
  • Flaws
  • weaknesses
  • Inner judge
  • judging others
  • Feeling unsafe
  • Physical need / craving
  • Hunger
  • Addiction
  • Unfiled information
  • Need for closure
  • Anxiety
  • Low self-esteem
  • “Idols”
  • A good thing that became an ultimate thing

Strategies For Intrusive Thoughts / Rumination

Seek the Kingdom Instead of the World

Matthew 6: 19-21

19“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

put the big rocks in first


“Increase is my portion” - “I want to release this over you today”

Seek the Truth

Don’t react off of

  • Assumptions
  • Mind reading
  • Catastrophizing


Get Into Nature

Stanford study

Listen to a Sermon While Sleeping

Make sure it’s doctrinally correct


Quiet Time

Make Time to Ponder

Write Your Thoughts Down

Change Your Thoughts

Remember Who God Is


Projection is a defense mechanism where we assume others believe the negative thoughts that we have about ourselves

Proverbs 29:25

The fear of man brings a snare, But one who trusts in the LORD will be protected.

Example: no respond to your text or email

  • You put yourself out and are vulnerable but you aren’t getting a response

You can think

  • My email went to their spam folder
  • I wonder if she hates my idea
  • I totally made myself look stupid in this email and now I have ruined my chances of getting through to this person

example: I tell my coworker I need a vacation

  • They smirk
  • I assume they are responding because they think that I don’t work hard
  • They smirked because they can relate to it
  • I feel guilty because they work harder than me so I assume they think the negative thoughts about myself that I do


I have assigned negative thoughts that that they don’t have

I build up negative feelings and resentment towards them

Need for Affirmation

This also ties directly into you affirming yourself

When you project negative feelings on others you set yourself up for needing them to affirm you and build you up

Projection reaffirms your negative thoughts

The real problem …I feel guilty for not putting in as many hours

The trigger is that I believe I know what they are thinking


Step one

  1. Identify that you are projecting
  2. Replace the negative thoughts with positive ones

Identify the Pain Point

You have to identify your real pinpoint

A pain point is that you haven’t been working as hard as everyone else

The real pain point is that you feel guilty about it

You can say something affirming like “I am a hard worker“ but that is superficial

You should say something like “my worth at my job isn’t defined by how much work I have done lately“

  • I am a contributor to the team
  • they think I am valuable
  • Joe doesn’t have time to keep tabs on me

You Need to Affirm Yourself

You have to be able to affirm yourself internally.  Depending on others to affirm you makes you too vulnerable

People have their own needs, and they can’t always lift you up and rescue you from your negative thoughts about yourself

Complements and Recognition are great and they feel great, but they can’t be required for you to feel whole and complete.  

Solution: Put your identity in Christ

— Strategies —


Try to See Their Side of the Story

Put Yourself in the Other Person’s Shoes

Matthew 7:12

12“In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

we get angry when people have different goals, perspectives

Peoples reactions often have more to do with them than they do with me

This allows me to have more empathy with what they are going through

Their fears


Ephesians 4:32

32 Be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.


  • Your mistakes and flaws
  • Mistakes and flaws of others

Cancel the debt

Learn from it, but don’t continue walking around holding onto it.

Don’t Judge

James 5:9

Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door.

Luke 6:37

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned.

part of Judgment and resentment is rumination

Holding a grudge is like a Rumination

Imagine resentment as a brick in a backpack.  Every thought you have is like putting it in a backpack you have to carry around all the time

Are You Too Needy?

Neediness has a negative impact on how people interact with you


Easily Angered

  • you have to walk on eggshells

this kind of behavior pushes people away

Then if your negative self talk is

  • “I don’t deserve anything good to happen to me“
  • “ I don’t deserve love“

When you lose support, it reinforces that belief

The truth is that you drove the people away with your own behavior

Build Yourself Up

If you boot yourself up from within and don’t need others to do it

  • You attract other people
  • It becomes safe and comfortable to be around you

This is the person you could say almost anything to and they never seem phased

  • It feels good to be around that type of person


How to identify your need to affirm yourself

  1. Notice when you are projecting or mind reading
  2. Examine your negative emotions

We all have negative tapes that run in our head when the time is right.  We all have soft spots that can trigger us to react negatively.  

Uncertainty / Anxiety / Fear

Give it to God

Proverbs 16:3 

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”

Release Control

Jeremiah 29:11

11For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for prosperity and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Sometimes ruminations comes from feeling out of control

  • Let go of perfectionism
  • Set realistic goals

When we want everything to be perfect our minds are consumed with fear

When you free yourself of the dream that everything will be perfect you were free yourself to experience real life… The good and the bad

We have to give up the illusion of control

The more you realize what is out of your control… The more you will be able to focus on what is in your control

You will stop trying to make things fit into your boxes, and just let things be as they are

Let Go of Perfectionism

Perfectionism and unrealistic goal setting can lead to rumination. If you set goals that are unrealistic, you may start to focus on why and how you haven’t reached a goal, or what you should have done to reach it.

Setting more realistic goals that you’re capable of achieving can reduce the risks of overthinking your own actions.

Have Faith

Proverbs 3:6 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Successful accomplishment - imagine it happening

  • Envision yourself doing the task successfully
  • Speech
  • Asking someone on a date
  • Exercise
  • Waking up “happy”

Affirmation for Uncertainty

“God is still on the throne”

“things are uncertain… But I can handle it“

“I’ve never experienced this before… But I can handle it“

These are uncertain times… But I can handle it

“I have no idea what is going to happen… But God can handle it “

Change Your Physiology

result - behavior- emotional state

To change a result you have to change your behavior

To change your behavior you have to change the emotional state that you are in

You need to change your physiology

  • Your physical body

Depressed posture

depressed person

  • Posture: slumped over
  • Head: down
  • Breathing: shallow
  • Talking: slow
  • Volume: soft

If you

  • stand up straight
  • breathe deeply
  • talk loudly and confidently
  • Power pose

You  will take radically different actions

Produces more certainty in you

The certainty get you to take different actions

When you focus on the result you fear you get bad results

The bed results tell you that you were right and being afraid

Don’t move your eyes

Look Up

Take Action to Resolve the Issue

Isaiah 32:8

8But the noble person devises noble plans;

And by noble plans he stands.

Plan to take action

Instead of repeating the same negative thought over and over again, take that thought and make a plan to take action to address it.

Write Down the Plan

In your head, outline each step you need to take to address the problem, or write it down on a piece of paper. Be as specific as possible and also realistic with your expectations.

Doing this will disrupt your rumination. It will also help you move forward in the attempt to get a negative thought out of your head once and for all.

Take action

Once you’ve outlined a plan of action to address your ruminating thoughts, take one small step to address the issue. Refer to the plan you made to solve the problem you’ve been obsessing over.

Move forward with each step slowly and incrementally until your mind is put at ease.

Seek Wise Counsel

Proverbs 11:14

Where there is no guidance the people fall, But in an abundance of counselors there is victory.

Ruminating thoughts can make you feel isolated. Talking about your thoughts with a friend who can offer an outside perspective may help break the cycle.

Be sure to speak with a friend who can give you that perspective rather than ruminate with you.

Instructor: Michael Leadon


15 Tips to Stop Ruminating and Get out of Your Head

Doc Snipes

The war in your head

Bill Johnson

Nature experience reduces rumination and subgenual prefrontal cortex activation

Gregory N. BratmanJ. Paul HamiltonKevin S. HahnGretchen C. DailyJames J. Gross

How I got rid of Obsessive anxious thinking and painful Rumination

Bignoknow Noah Thomas

The struggle switch by Dr. Russ Harris

People in pain network

Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess

Caroline Leaf

How to know if a thought was from God, yourself, or Satan (Parts 1,2,3)

How to Stop Ruminating: 10 Tips to Stop Repetitive Thoughts (

How do and stop the negative self talk

Dr. tracy Marx

How to end negative self talk: Jim Kwok

Be inspired

Two things you can do to stop ruminating

Dr. Tracy Marks

Tony Roberts on How to break your negative thinking

Dr. Oz

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