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over and over again...

Rumination.  The thoughts go round and round in your head, ad nauseam.  Ever experience this?  It seems that for those who do this, not only do the thoughts go around, but they spiral down to a really negative place.  You start by thinking about a conversation you had or some behavior you enacted, and before you know it you are beating yourself up mercilessly for something you said or did.  The process can keep you up at night or prevent you from being productive and moving into solution mode.  How do you get out of this hamster wheel?  

1.  Try being mindful.  When you are ruminating, you are generally thinking about the past or stressing about the future.  Being in the moment can be calming and put a wrench in this process.  Try paying attention to your senses--notice what you are hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, touching.  This moves you into the present and out of that crazy-making cycle.

2.  Instead of going over and over whatever is bothering you, ask yourself clarifying questions.  What can you learn from the situation?  Do you need to take some action?  

3.  Often, this kind of thinking can be somewhat irrational.  Is there really a problem or is it old baggage coming back to haunt you?  If you can rule that out baggage, come up with a solution instead of going around and around.  

Ruminating is not productive or helpful.  You may need to simply tell yourself "STOP," so you can move on to thoughts that are more deserving of your attention.  Get off the circular hamster wheel and jump on the path to move forward--instead of round and round!

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