Rumination 1. A preoccupation with particular thoughts, usually of a highly distressing kind. 2. The chewing and swallowing of food that a person has regurgitated.

When you fear that your self-confidence is about to abandon you, here’s one thing that you should definitely NOT do:

Do not put your tongue up your nostril!


Don’t be like this cow: cows are ruminants. They regurgitate the content of one of their four stomachs and chew it over again and again. We humans also ruminate. We cough up memories and their associated emotions and chew them over again.


But unlike the eternal and ever-lasting piece of chewing gum that goes round and around and around in the mouth of a nervous manager of a soon-to-be-relegated football team, our emotional memories can come back up with plenty of their original flavour: a taste of fear, anger, disgust, sadness and shame, perhaps? And following that emotional flavour refresher comes your body’s automatic reaction – increased heart rate, increased breathing, increased cortisol and blood pressure. Pretty powerful stuff for just a simple memory that you elicited of your own free will!


Accept the emotions. After all, they have already set your body in motion, so trying to deny or fight them is pointless. Resistance is futile. Instead, ask yourself what it is you want to do about the challenge you face right now. If it helps, take a step away from the situation in order to gain more distance and perspective. And let someone else do all the moo-ing.