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Co-rumination, a more recent term, suggested by Amanda Rose, refers to speculating, re-hashing, dwelling, and extensive discussion of problems with someone (typically a friend). It’s essential overthinking, except that it’s done with company.

Much of the research about this important construct has been done with young women. In adolescent girls, co-rumination is associated with increased depressive symptoms and other internalising problems. In this same study, adolescents are more likely to co-ruminate when in romantic relationships but being in a relationship AND co-ruminating makes depressive symptoms more likely. Co-ruminating also increases cortisol (an indicator of stress). In an interesting experiment, researchers found that c-ruminating with one’s best friend (speculating about the causes, dwelling on things, brooding, re-hashing) led to feeling closer to one’s friend, but also increased depressive symptoms and cortisol.

When dealing with overthinking, in my clinical experience, there is a vital balance between validating our emotional experience as well as not going down the brooding path. This business of validating is utterly crucial and I’ve written about it in another post. Our inner critic so frequently steps in. In my Overcoming Overthinking CD (and workshop), there are exercises for shrinking that critic and soothing the accompanying small, vulnerable part of ourselves.

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