I thought ruminate was just a fancy word for “think” or “ponder.” Imagine my surprise when the following popped up under definitions:
When people ruminate, they over-think or obsess about situations or life events, such as work or relationships. Research has shown that rumination is associated with a variety of negative consequences, including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, binge-drinking and binge-eating.
Getting to the highly charged phrase “binge-eating” flung me like Dorothy’s tornado from my main site to this new one, because I am a binge-eater. But a ruminator? Something that sounds like a strange creature in a bad sci-fi movie? Besides, no matter what bad habits I’m willing to own up to, I have never considered myself to be an obsessive thinker. However, in the spirit of my recent commitment to explore honestly what has caused me to become overweight (okay, obese) I have to think about the possibility that there are aspects of my thought processes connected to compulsive eating that I have not identified yet.
While I am not aware of over-thinking or pondering things to the point of obsession, it is clear to me that I engage in behaviors that create a kind of black-out. Not in the sense of excessive drinking blackouts. But I often find myself engaged in activities that are repetitive and numbing (endlessly playing a video game on my Iphone, for example, long past any sense of enjoyment). Clearly I am not doing any real thinking during that time, but then maybe that is the point. Perhaps binge-eating for me is associated with ruminating in a sort of backwards way. Perhaps it serves as a protection from obsessive thinking. I’m not sure, but it seems an idea that is worth some serious consideration. Discovering what I may not want to think about, or fear is obsessive and disturbing subject matter may just free me to be less compulsive about food and eating.
This has nothing to do with the post, but who knew that goats could climb trees?