Some have heard of the term ‘rumination.’ If you’ve been around a farm, you know that cattle do it all the time. But I wonder how many of us do it. When cattle ruminate, they are chewing their cud, or semi-digested food, which is a repetitive process (a single cow chews about 10,000 times a day) that is necessary for a cow’s well being.

However, with regard to humans, ruminating on the negative can hurt instead of help.

In the world of human psychology, rumination is the compulsively focused attention on one’s distress, and on its possible causes and consequences, instead of its solutions. Rumination is similar to worry except rumination focuses on negative feelings and experiences from the past, whereas worry is concerned with potential negative events in the future. Both rumination and worry are associated with anxiety and other negative emotional states.

In other words, when we ruminate we are occupied with rehashing perceived or real problems repeatedly. We don’t really solve anything, but we become an expert at working ourselves into a state of high stress that can sometimes lead to a downward spiral. After a while, we find ourselves worrying not about the initial problems, but about the images we have created within ourselves.

However, the human mind, despite this vicious cycle, has developed a built-in potential for guarding against rumination it’s called flexibility. A little voice inside us whispers, “there must be a better way.” If we pay attention and look for insight, there is a good chance we will find what we need to move forward.

The ability to take charge of our thoughts is not something we learned in school. But it’s a skill that is essential if we want to kick the worry habit and accomplish worthwhile goals. We can learn to substitute images of solutions instead of endlessly ruminating about problems. We can use visualization and affirmation to deal effectively and calmly with our challenges and opportunities, instead of worrying about failure.

Does changing our thinking from worry and apprehension to positive reflection and accomplishment really affect the outcomes and results we get? ABSOLUTELY! It has been proven time and time again. There are so many powerful stories about such examples. Try it for yourself and experience the same power. You have nothing to lose except worry and anxiety and a lot to gain from self-respect, respect from peers and family, to success in your personal and professional lives.

Think about it for a little while, but don’t wait long to take action so you can reap the many benefits that’s out there waiting for you.