Do you feel your brain thinking

How brooding and depression are related

“How is all of this supposed to be?” Or: “Why did this happen to me?” - It is quite normal that we ask ourselves questions like these every now and then. However, we should keep an eye on it when worrying thoughts get out of hand. Then caution is advised because there is a link between brooding and depression. In this article you will learn how brooding and depression are related and what we can do about brooding.

What is brooding?

Unfortunately, we cannot control the activity of thinking. Just as the ocean creates waves, our brains are constantly producing new thoughts without being asked. And that's just as well! The ability to think in a targeted manner allows us to solve problems and develop further as a human being, but also as an individual. But when does “normal thinking” stop and brooding begins? Brooding is thought loops that do not contribute to solving a problem. It is a question of constantly repeating thoughts, the famous carousel of thoughts, which is experienced as uncomfortable to tormenting. How does this ride in the carousel of thoughts affect our psyche?

How brooding and depression are related

Dr. Tobias Teismann from the Ruhr-Universität Bochum has done a lot of research on the subject of brooding and depression and found that brooding can be one of the first symptoms of depression. The insoluble thoughts weigh on our mood and the more we brood, the more often we feel down and powerless. As a result, we lose our drive to approach things constructively. We can get into an unhealthy vicious circle. Often, brooding attacks lead to self-reproach and even more worries: We worry that we worry. Now is the time to actively tackle the problem of brooding! But how?

Worrying is good

Often times, when we are stuck in our thoughts, we try desperately to stop brooding. But as already mentioned: Our brain produces thoughts, just like the ocean produces waves. We cannot stop our "thought waves" and if we try it sooner or later leads to frustration, anger and even more thoughts. You can think of it as a dam: If you willingly suppress brooding, after a certain time they will still discharge and you will be “flooded”. The alternative: First try to make yourself aware that the phrase "worry" actually comes from "worrying about someone or something". Your brain wants to protect you, prepare you for possible dangers or learn from past mistakes.

Instead of cursing the uninvited thoughts, you can try to make friends with them. Notice when you start to brood and then say to yourself, “Oh, thank you, dear brain, that you care for me.” If this gratitude is difficult for you, you can also express compassion to your head, something like this: “Poor brain You have to worry about everything all the time. ”You may find this silly at first, but this technique takes you away from your brooding thoughts instead of chewing through their contents. So you get out of the carousel of thought. Studies have shown that this method, called “cognitive defusion” in psychology, is extremely effective.

Relaxation for your head

Have you ever noticed that brooding attacks like to haunt us at night? One of the reasons for this is that we don't do any other activity while lying in bed. To curb brooding, it is therefore helpful to create time windows during the day in which your head can really let off steam. If the so-called "resting state network" (English. Default mode network) of your brain is activated, your thoughts can be sorted. You already know this conscious idling as "daydreaming".

Specifically, this means: Take about 10 minutes a day, find a quiet place and let your thoughts run free - without actively responding to them. You neither have to spin it further nor suppress it. Sometimes it's easier when we have a calm scene in front of us. For example, you can look out the window or look at a log fire. In particular, the view of nature has an additional positive effect on our mood.

write it down

Some people find it difficult to “pure mental work” and to observe one's thoughts. In this case, you can also make your thoughts visible: just put them on paper! Depending on when you find time for it, it makes sense to write so-called morning pages or evening pages. Hold unfiltered everything that is going through your head for about 5 minutes. Warning: We often run out of thoughts at precisely this moment, but that too is a valuable experience. There are pauses for thought that we hardly notice in everyday life. However, this can be very useful for recognizing: You exist even when you are not thinking! So you are independent of your thoughts and ruminations can basically not harm you.

You can also make the step of writing down easier for yourself by making it look beautiful: Buy an attractive notebook, have your favorite pen ready, have a cup of coffee or tea. By writing the morning or evening pages, you create a good habit, with the help of which you will soon no longer feel helpless at the mercy of brooding episodes.

You are doing great

Regardless of whether you want to implement one or the other tip, the mere fact that you notice your brooding is great. It means that you question your thoughts and not blindly indulge in them. Also, keep in mind that it is perfectly normal to brood every now and then. As with many other things: it depends on the dose!

Categories depression