To reduce repeating conversations (co-rumination) with friends and acquaintances when dealing with challenging situations, and increase collaboration and problem-solving.
What to Know:
Do you talk about the same thing over and over with your friends and acquaintances? Do you rehash unpleasant events and hard feelings?
Talking about things that bother you can be helpful because you can sort through your feelings, weigh your options, or come up with creative solutions while getting feedback from others.
It usually feels good to talk about your problems with people you are close to because they offer validation and support.
However, if you keep talking about the same problem repeatedly without actually coming up with a solution or a plan of action, it can do more harm than good.
Psychologists call this type of repeated conversation “co-rumination.”
People do it because it “feels” like they are reducing their anxiety about a subject, but in reality, they become more focused on their problems as opposed to finding solutions.
Co-rumination can feel you are getting or giving help and support. However, repeatedly having the same conversation with people can drive them away and lead to increased anxiety and depression.
Ask yourself the following questions to help you identify whether you are engaging in coordination.
👉 Am I talking about the same thing repeatedly, particularly issues that make me feel sad, angry, or envious?
👉 Is this a new problem?
👉 Have I/we spoken about this before?
👉 Am I worrying about things that have not happened?
👉 Do I have any new information, or has the situation changed?
If you think you might be co-ruminating too much, you can stop the pattern.
These suggestions can help.
👉 Identify the topics, situations, or people that trigger you.
It helps to be mindful of your patterns, as well as those that have developed within your relationships.
If you identify your triggers, you are more likely to catch co-rumination as it is happening
👉 What are the topics you ruminate about? Describe.
👉 Are you more likely to co-ruminate in certain settings or situations? List them.
👉Are there certain people you tend to co-ruminate with? Write their names.
Even when you are aware of what triggers you, at first it can be hard to catch yourself.
So, it is helpful to ask the people closest to you to help you break the pattern. Remind your loved ones you are available to listen to and support them, and that you appreciate it when they do the same for you.
Tell them you have noticed you tend to co-ruminate and ask them to point out when they feel you are ruminating.
These discussions give you the chance to talk about the support that is helpful and learn ways you can be more supportive. Who can you ask to help you?
Catch yourself and be kind. By increasing your awareness, you can stop the pattern and come up with solutions. The more you recognize co-rumination the easier it will be to problem-solve instead. Be kind to yourself and your loved one when you ruminate.
Instead of judging yourself or being overly critical, approach it like a game and acknowledge you are becoming better at recognizing the difference between ruminating and problem-solving.
Actively problem-solve. Often, taking one small step toward resolving the problem can be more helpful than venting to someone.
Ask yourself the following questions:
✋ Is there something I can do to change or improve the situation right now?
✋ Can I resolve the problem in one small way?
✋ What can I do differently in the future to prevent similar situations from happening or to cope with them?
Find new ways to cope.
You can develop a self-care routine, write the pros and cons of solutions, or choose healthy distractions. You can also find new ways to feel connected in your relationships, including having meaningful discussions, trying a new activity together, or working on a shared goal.
What can you do to cope, other than co-ruminating? Be specific.
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