Why You Shouldn’t Think about Problems that Haven’t Happened Yet

February 7, 2020
Many people tend to worry about problems even if they do not know if they will ever happen. However, we can all take healthy steps to stop this bad habit.

Are you familiar with the term “ruminant thinking?” This is when you think about problems that make you worried, anxious and very stressed when you are faced with difficulties that have not yet come to be.

Overthinking the future cannot lead to anything good. In fact, ruminant thinking makes us imagine problems before we even know whether they will come to be.

While many of us tend to do this, it’s not good for your health. Therefore, today we’re going to tell you why you should not think about problems that have not yet materialized.

Below, let’s see how this happens in practice.

Carmen Couldn’t Help but Think about Problems Constantly

sad woman practicing ruminant thinking

Carmen was a 25-year-old woman for whom it was impossible to avoid thinking about problems. Regardless of what happened, Carmen was always ruminating on and anticipating things happening before she knew whether they would happen.

Last week, for example, she sent a message to a friend who saw it but didn’t answer it. Multiple ideas began running through Carmen’s mind.

Maybe she’s angry. Was it something I said? Has something happened to her?

Carmen was getting ahead of what might actually have happened. What’s more, she was making assumptions that might not be true and that could even affect her relationship with her friend.

Instead of healthy thoughts – like maybe her friend was simply busy – she started worrying about the worst possible things. Then, she analyzed them over and over again, becoming increasingly worried.

This process is called rumination. 

Is there anyone who has not had this happen to them?

Read: Don’t Be Afraid To Lose People Who Don’t Feel Lucky to Have You

How to Move Away from Ruminative Thinking

Ruminative thinking: Do not think about problems

If, like Carmen, it takes a lot of work for you not to think about problems, it’s important that you start putting a series of habits into practice that can help you a lot in this regard.

Let’s talk about some of them:

  1. Remember that not everything is negative. Why do we always assume the worst? We need to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. After all, sometimes, we are very wrong in our assumptions.
  2. Increase your self-esteem. You may be thinking about problems that have not materialized because you have very low self-esteem, and you need to improve it. Maybe you are afraid of being abandoned? Of being rejected? If so, take healthy steps to improve your self esteem.
  3. It’s always better to ask. Rather than allowing ruminant thinking to keep thoughts spinning in your head without an end in sight, it’s better to take action. Get rid of your doubts by asking the other person if what you think is actually true.

As you can see, it’s possible to not think about problems that have not yet materialized.

However, you must always take action and not allow those negative thoughts to continue to churn in your mind. After all, the consequences of doing this are very unpleasant.

Discover: 6 Habits to Make You into a Happy, Successful Woman

The Benefits of Not Ruminating

Now you know a little more about ruminating and how to stop it, it’s important that you know the benefits that you will get if you put all the above into practice:

  1. Goodbye, anxiety! Anxiety causes us to become stressed for no reason and to feel bad about a situation that we are only creating in our minds.
  2. Your relationships will improve. If you don’t imagine the worst or assume the worst, you won’t be insecure or angry, so your relationships will not suffer any wear and tear.
  3. You will improve your self-esteem. You will feel much more sure of yourself, and you won’t be so focused on whether others might get angry (for example).

Not thinking about problems that have not yet materialized will be a great relief for you. You’ll feel much more secure and calm. Plus, there will no longer be a constant storm in your mind, but rather quite the opposite: peace and well-being.

There are some exercises like the “thought stopping” technique that can be very helpful if all of this resonates with you. Although it may seem silly, we recommend that you put it into practice. It’s an exercise that many psychologists ask to their patients to do.

Similarly, combating obsessive thoughts can also help you exercise or be honest with others, to open up and tell them what is going on in your mind. Again, that backpack loaded with worries that you carry on your back will be lightened even a little. This will make a big difference.


  • Fernando Azor, “Parada de pensamiento”, s.f. https://gabinetedepsicologia.com/parada-de-pensamiento-psicologos-madrid-tres-cantos
  • Sanz, P., & Fernández-Cuevas, A. (2015), “Trastorno obsesivo compulsivo”, Medicine – Programa de Formación Médica Continuada Acreditado, Volume 11, Issue 84, September 2015, Pages 5008-5014
  • Mental Health America, “¿Qué es la depresión”, s.f. http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/%C2%BFqu%C3%A9-es-la-depresi%C3%B3n
  • Schlatter Navarro, J., & Gamazo Garrán, P. (2011), “Trastornos de ansiedad (II). Fobias. Trastorno obsesivo-compulsivo”, Medicine – Programa de Formación Médica Continuada Acreditado, Volume 10, Issue 85, September 2011, Pages 5734-5741