Skip to main content

Repetitive Thought (Including Rumination & Worry)

Human beings experience a wide variety of repetitive thoughts about themselves and their lives, not all of them negative. Reminiscing, savoring, anticipating, and problem-solving are positive examples of repetitive thoughts, and go some way ot explaining why we have the propensity to engage in repetitive thoughts.

Some types of repetitive thought are unhelpful though, even harmful. Rumination and worry are two key forms of unhelpful repetitive thought and use of these can predict anxiety and depression. They are maintainance factors in conditions such as generalized anxiety disorder and depression.

  • The how and why of rumination and worry | Watkins |2012 download archived copy
  • Targeting rumination by changing processing style: experiential and Imagery exercises | Watkins | 2011 download   archived copy
  • Watkins, E. R. (2008). Constructive and unconstructive repetitive thought. Psychological Bulletin, 134(2), 163-206  download
  • Watkins, E. R. (2009). Depressive Rumination and Co-Morbidity: Evidence for Brooding as a Transdiagnostic Process. Journal of Rational-Emotive Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, 27, 160-175  download
  • Watkins, E. R. (2016). Rumination-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy for depression. Guilford Publications.

Sign Up To The Free Newsletter

Early access – get informed about the latest resources first

Research summaries – stay informed about developments in therapy research

No spam – newsletters delivered monthly, we won’t share your details with anyone else

Confidence assured – unsubscribe at any time