Don’t Ruminate!

Rumination is not at all helpful

When our red zone triggers, one of the things that occurs is we begin to ruminate, that is to go over in our conscious mind the circumstances and events that put us in the red zone.  May be someone said something hurtful, or we made a mistake and it was that that triggered the red zone.  Going over these events imprints them more strongly in memory and makes it more likely that these memories will come to mind the next time we see the person who said something hurtful or we have to do something similar to when we made a mistake.


Chronic rumination is strongly associated with the onset of depression.  Whatever way you look at it rumination is not helpful. 

We can also ruminate socially.  Something happens to me and I want to share it with others.  Someone else says, “the same thing happened to me” and a third says, “I remember when …” and recounts their experience.

If this conversation is about the poor behaviour of a student, for example, then we are increasing the likelihood that the next time any of us see this student the memories of this poor behaviour will come to mind.  This is the opposite of what we want to support that student’s learning.

This type of social rumination comes about because conversations within the school environment, historically, have not been structured to support the work and so can, as in this example, undermine the work.

We want to avoid rumination in all its forms.



John Corrigan is an expert in helping individuals to bring their whole of mind to their daily life and increase their effectiveness and the effectiveness of those around them. This expertise scales from the individual to the team to the organisation. At the core of this work is the practice of encounter.  Earlier blogs can be found here.


John Corrigan