Month: September 2015

Rumination is a behavior stream

cropped-Bild-23.jpgRuminating is not really one behavior, but rather a stream of many behaviors. It is a stream of thoughts. The rumination-stream does not consist of the same thoughts repeating themselves, but rather it consists of two types of thoughts. Two types which each have their own different function.

Behavior analysis is the understanding of the function of different behaviors. One behavior can have different functions, depending on different situations. Different behaviors may have the same function, even though they differ starkly. In order to understand a behavior’s function or purpose, it is essential to see it its context. If you do not understand the function of a behavior, you might treat it improperly. Thoughts are also behaviors, which can have different functions.

Our feelings are affected by external and internal factors. We might get upset, angry, and frightened by things that we hear and see, but also by things that we think. In the same manner, we can be calmed by things we see, hear, and think.

Thoughts in ruminations have two different functions. One kind of thoughts leads to anxiety, insecurity, or discomfort and these thoughts function as frighteners or “triggers”. The other type of thoughts functions as calmers, reassurers, or comforters, also called safety-behaviors.

Thoughts that lead to concern, frighten, lead to uneasiness, anxiety or discomfort in general will henceforth be referred to as “discomforting thoughts”. Thoughts that function as safety-behaviors that are used to rid uncertainty, insecurity, concerns, feelings of discomfort and doubt, will henceforth be referred to as “comforting thoughts”.

This is an exerpt from the book Quit Ruminating and Brooding by Olle Wadstrom. Comments and discussions are encouraged.

What are rumination and brooding

Ruminating is thought-behaviors – cognitive behaviors. The typical rumination is a type of internal struggle, an internal discussion where a person in his or her mind considers the possibilities to affect, alter, predict, understand, and prepare for something. Sometimes the problem being ruminated upon is neither solvable through either thoughts nor actions.


It is possible to control and affect thoughts, something that might be hard to believe for someone who suffers from a lot of ruminating. It feels as if you cannot quit ruminating, even if you really want to. Ruminating has a tendency to return, time and again. Yet the fact remains that we can control both our external actions (the motor behavior) as well as our thoughts (the cognitive behavior). The difference between controlling our actions and controlling our thought can be described accordingly.

We can decide between raising our right arm or not moving it at all. We can decide between speaking or being silent. Motor behaviors are under our absolute control, with the exceptions of reflexes and tics.

When it comes to thinking, the situation is slightly different. We can decide on thinking about a certain thing, but we cannot decide on not thinking at all. However hard we try, we will always be thinking about something. Thus, we cannot restrain ourselves from thinking in the same manner that we can restrain ourselves from moving. This is one of the problems with ruminating. We think during all of our waking time. It is also hard to not think about a certain thing, since we are constantly thinking, and it is easy to skip from one thought to another.

It has been proven difficult – indeed impossible – to decide on not thinking on, for example “a blue elephant”. Indeed, as soon as you try to not think about the blue elephant, a blue elephant appears. This is because when you try to keep track of what to not think about, you automatically think about it.

This is an exerpt from the book Quit Ruminating and Brooding by Olle Wadstrom. Comments and discussions are encouraged.

The book is available in two similar versions. Please choose the green and black version. and a black version. (A white version of the book and an audio version is illegally printed and sold by AuthorHouse)

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