Ruminating Thoughts Generate Anxiety

Ruminating thoughts are the thoughts that we obsess over but don't find a solution to. If we don't opt to eliminate them, they will sabotage our well-being.
Ruminating Thoughts Generate Anxiety
Valeria Sabater

Reviewed and approved by psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 15 December, 2022

Do you ever lose yourself to thought and ruminate over ‘what ifs’ and ‘should haves’? Ruminating thoughts are responsible for bringing us to a state of extreme worry that converts into anxiety. These thoughts generate anxiety.

But why does this happen?

Some people tend to overthink what’s happening to them, things they have said, things that have occurred, and how good or not all of it was.

These ruminating thoughts not only focus on the past, but also on the unknown future. These assumptions, doubts, and negative beliefs abound can definitely lead to anxiety.

Ruminating Thoughts Generate Anxiety

If there’s anything that ruminating thoughts are good for, it’s making us come to wrong conclusions.

Whatever it is that we’re overthinking is heavily influenced by fear, lack, needs and other weaknesses that reside within us.

If we need others to be happy, feel capable and validated, then those ruminating thoughts will echo in our minds.

When ruminating, we almost always focus on others and what they think about us and our actions.

But where does that leave us? Where does our own opinion reside?

Low self-esteem derives from an insecurity that affects us in every area of our lives. It causes conflicts, feelings of guilt and erroneous thinking that makes us doubt everything and everyone.

This situation provokes something that we don’t want: rejection of others. And we focus in so much on others that even the most minimal things that happen we consider a disappointment, lie, or betrayal.

But, in reality, we’re the ones who disappoint ourselves.

Ruminating Thoughts are Dangerous

thoughts generate anxiety

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Ruminating thoughts are a vicious cycle. It feels like there is no end, like there is no escape.

In fact, people that suffer from these type of thoughts lack an essential skill: the bravery to make decisions.

The fact that they don’t say what they want or do what they want because they know that it will have consequences. This causes them to take refuge in their thoughts that consume them from the inside.

Little by little, the anxiety will create an echo. It will sneak up on them at every corner and each time it will acquire more control.

If it’s not stopped in time, if one doesn’t comprehend that there’s a problem that needs to be solved, it will have a snowball effect, getting bigger and bigger and can spiral into a deep depression.

People who suffer from ruminating thoughts sabotage themselves on a constant basis. They harm their self-esteem. They don’t feel worthy enough.

The person is so out of touch with themselves that they often need others to feel “connected.” However, this is never the solution, but rather an aggravator of a problem they don’t want to come to terms with.

Time to Say “Goodbye” to Obsessions

Ruminating thoughts are nothing more than obsessions about a subject or situation that provokes us to do things that we later regret. For example, if we have doubts and if here are various thoughts that make us think that our partner is unfaithful, anxiety will take over us.

Then, we’ll start taking tabs on what time he connects to social media, how often he thinks of us, etc.

Everything that we “discover” will feed into those beliefs and they will become so obsessive that it will cause us to do things that don’t form part of our values.

That’s why you shouldn’t get stuck in the tide of thoughts. These thoughts, unfounded and born from our own insecurities, harm us.

We need to learn to see them without judging, without trying to investigate their motive, just see them and let them go.

When we hold onto these thoughts is when we start to ruminate on them and they turn into obsessions.

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thoughts generate anxiety

Thoughts generate anxiety or a negative sensation in your body, but embracing them, trying to justify them, and not letting them is the worst decision.

If a thought attacks you and doesn’t leave you in peace, make a decision. Whatever’s on your mind is trying to tell you something, so listen to the wisdom behind it.

Obsessive thoughts accumulate repressed and silenced doubts. Things that bother you that you don’t do anything about.

Keeping it in or holding on to it will only make you feel worse. These thoughts generate anxiety. When your body starts to scream out, it’s time to dare to change.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Cartwright-Hatton, S., & Wells, A. (1997). Beliefs about worry and intrusions: The Meta-Cognitions Questionnaire and its correlates. Journal of Anxiety Disorders11(3), 279–296.
  • Janeck, A. S., Calamari, J. E., Riemann, B. C., & Heffelfinger, S. K. (2003). Too much thinking about thinking?: Metacognitive differences in obsessive-compulsive disorder. Journal of Anxiety Disorders17(2), 181–195.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.