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Helping Your Clients Slow Down Their Thoughts & Stop Ruminating

young woman sits with eyes closed in peaceful meditation

It’s common for clients to have a difficult time slowing down their thoughts, especially for those struggling with a mental illness or substance use disorder. Often, this can be a distraction for treatment, and helping your clients overcome these thoughts may help their progress. In this article, we’ll discuss ways you can help your clients slow down their thoughts and stop ruminating.

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What effects do overthinking and ruminating have?

Overthinking may have adverse effects on your client’s mental and physical health. These effects may include:

  • a shortened lifespan
  • less or worse quality sleep; and or,
  • an increased chance of developing mental illnesses.

What are the primary methods for helping your clients stop ruminating?

There are three main strategies for helping your clients slow down their thoughts – sharing what’s on their mind, physical exercise, and meditation. Let’s take a look at each of these in a little more depth.

Having Your Client Share What’s on Their Mind

Group or individual therapy sessions are an excellent tool for getting clients to open up about the thoughts that are distracting them or concerns they might be ruminating about. It’s important to encourage your patients to lean on their support group and not be afraid to ask for help.

Another good tactic is to have them start journaling and taking note of what triggers their overthinking. Journaling can be an excellent way for your patients to help reach an array of goals.

Check out these five easy journaling steps based on the acronym WRITE from The Center for Journal Therapy:

  1. What – Start with the topic at hand. What is the challenge or worry?
  2. Review – Take time to reflect on the what. Write down how you feel or think about the topic.
  3. Investigate – Keep exploring the emotions and spend the time to dig deeper.
  4. Time – Set a time goal and make sure to write for that amount.
  5. Exit – Review what has been written thus far and recap in two or three sentences at the end.

Physical Exercise  to Stop Ruminating

Exercise is considered essential for keeping our mental fitness in good condition. And can aid in reducing stress. “Scientists have found that regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem.” 

There are many different types of physical exercise that can be beneficial. Some examples are endurance exercise, strength training, stretching, mobility, and balance. Whatever the age or fitness level, it’s important to encourage exercise that one enjoys, helping ensure they stay the course.

Meditation/Mindful Exercises


Meditation or mindful exercises can be just as vital as physical exercises in maintaining mental fitness, which will help your clients stop ruminating. According to Healthline, “One study in 60 people receiving treatment for alcohol use disorder found that practicing transcendental meditation was associated with lower levels of stress, psychological distress, alcohol cravings, and alcohol use after 3 months. “

There are many different forms of meditation, including basic meditation, focused meditation, activity-oriented meditation, and mindfulness meditation. The technique that will give your patients the most benefits is the one they can stick to.

In Conclusion


Negative thinking can have a detrimental effect on your patient’s health as well be a hinderance in building an effective relationship with your patient as well be a hinderance. Helping your patients with learning to control these negative thoughts takes planning, patience, and effort. With the proper techniques, your patients may help develop a new thought pattern and have a better road to recovery.

Sunwave can help you manage finances, therapy sessions, treatment plans, and more. With a comprehensive platform built for substance user disorder treatment providers, your team can more effectively deliver treatment services and offer better patient care. Get a free demo and speak with a treatment platform expert, who will walk you through all Sunwave has to offer.