Speaker to give tips for fighting endless ruminations


Everyone thinks about negative things over and over, from major life events to an annoying encounter with strangers, says Greg Siegle, psychology faculty member in the Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences.

That’s called rumination, and rumination is sometimes hard to stop.

Siegle will use his 25 years of research on the topic to speak about the effects and treatment of persistent troubling thoughts from noon to 1 p.m. Oct. 28 in the William Pitt Union’s Kurtzman Room. It is part of the speaker series offered by the Mental Wellness Task Force of the University Senate’s Benefits and Welfare Committee.

“We tend to think of emotions as things that come and go very quickly,” he says. However, “they persist … and could be affecting us hours or days later.”

Some people have a biological pre-disposition to their emotions working overtime. And in a portion of people, rumination can lead to clinical depression, anxiety and other conditions. “The biggest problem with worry is that it can make people avoid doing things,” Siegle says. “We do have some interventions. They just don’t look like medications or psychotherapy in a normal way.”

For one, he says, “training people to use their brain a little differently does help.” His talk will describe several interventions, such as the well-established strategy of planning your worrying for a certain moment and length of time.

However, he emphasizes, worrying and rumination are, in the main, normal processes. “I strongly believe it could be helpful if as a society we were aware of and not did not stigmatize that,” he says. “Maybe if society had a little more empathy, maybe these things would be OK. People do a lot of worrying about worry.”

Siegle’s talk is free and open to all; no registration is required.

Marty Levine is a staff writer for the University Times. Reach him at martyl@pitt.edu or 412-758-4859.


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