berating yourself is bad for your health, physical and mental. And the longer your mind is consumed with gloomy self-accusations, the worse you will feel.

Rumination also inhibits taking action to remedy what got you ruminating in the first place. Researchers note that ruminators often continue analyzing their situation even after they’ve developed a plan for dealing with it. In fact, ruminators spend so much time mulling things over that many never get around to coming up with a solution. They’re more comfortable remaining stuck in the problem.

Nevertheless, the sheer act of mulling can make you feel as if you’re being productive. This gives you a nice excuse for continuing to mull. You tell yourself that fully dissecting your situation will enable you to do things differently in the future. But the fact is, the more you ruminate, the longer you put off changing the behaviors that are causing you pain.

eveloped a warm relationship with her CEO. Joe valued Liza’s skill at keeping costs low and bringing in projects on time, while somehow never alienating talent with her demands. After a few years, Joe made sure Liza reported directly to him. She came to view him as family.

But an influx of capital from a new investor seemed to fire Joe’s ambitions. He hired a new producer to handle a few big-budget deals. Mike was younger than Liza but had major studio experience. Though his jobs had been relatively junior, he was a big talker with even bigger ideas. Joe seemed dazzled by his young hotshot, and took Mike under his wing, green-lighting even half-thought-through projects that burned up cash. Liza’s projects continued to get funding but were increasingly viewed as marginal: low-budget cash cows that could sustain the company’s more high-profile brand. She says, “Ida and I were so happy to see each other. I hadn’t realized how much I’d missed her. We started talking, and after a while I poured my heart out about all that had happened with Joe and Mike. She listened for a long time and then she stopped me. She said, ‘Liza, I keep hearing you try to figure out what you did wrong, but you’ve got to realize this is so not about you. This is about Joe and his desire to change everything about his life—his family, where he lives, his company, who he is in the industry, who he hangs out with. Please stop trying to figure out what happened or how it could have been different. Start thinking about what you are going to do. That’s what I did—and I was his wife. It should be easier for you.

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