Humans think, therefore most of us ruminate. But for sufferers of OCD, hypochrondria, jealousy, and anxiety disorders, rumination is a relentless disturbance that interferes with life’s satisfactions. In Quit Ruminating and Brooding, licensed psychologist and therapist Olle Wadström offers a cure for the problem.
Wadström defines rumination as “a pointless attempt to seek answers to questions with no certain answers.” Many people worry about finances or innocent mistakes that might have been avoided. In the extreme, some worry that a partner might be unfaithful or that someone might cause serious injury to him/herself. Through the brain training technique explained here, widely accepted and used in Sweden, Wadström claims readers on any point of the rumination continuum can cure themselves.
With clear explanatory charts, the author illustrates how disturbing thoughts are reinforced, not assuaged, by comforting thoughts. Wadström explains the behavioral psychology driving the issue: “A positive or pleasant consequence of a behavior…in turn increases the frequency of the behavior.” By accepting and examining the disturbing thought without attempting to explain it, deny it, or soften its effect, he posits, the thought loses its potency and disappears.
Wadström teaches readers techniques to allow them to remain calm when the disturbing thought appears, even to amplify it by thinking a worse thought. While this will cause short-term anxiety, he notes, these fears will eventually lose their power to disturb.
There’s much repetition here, but key points in shaded boxes allow readers to skip the redundant text and grasp Wadström’s technique more quickly. And while the author can be blunt — “All safety behaviors need to go”; “You get dumber during anxiety”— his realistic approach helps build trust with reassurances such as, “Do not strive for complete freedom from anxiety… Without anxiety to compare with, we would not know if or when we are happy.”
For readers missing out on life’s joys or suffering sleeplessness due to rumination, this book offers a clinically tested, clearly explained cure.
Also available in hardcover.