The recollection of an injury… adds to our anger, nurtures our sins and hates what is good. It is a rusty arrow and poison for the soul. It puts all virtue to flight. — St. Francis of Paola
It is indeed poison for the soul. It’s also poison for mental health. Brooding is another word for negative ruminating. It can be a sign of depression or obsessive-compulsive disorder, or can become a trigger if habitually engaged in while healthy. Negative ruminating also prevents remission of these mental problems and makes our spiritual life unhealthy. In essence, it is a viciously cycles between our minds and our soul.
Managing stress, getting enough sleep, taking care of oneself when sick, and speaking to a trusted other when having difficulties are good counteracting action plans against brooding, another word being, negative overthinking. Professional help is necessary if you are unable to consistently stop it. Cognitive therapy is known to be very helpful.
Praying also helps, of course. Grace is abundant when we put ourselves before the feet of God. The very act of prayer, especially structured prayer such as the rosary, chaplets, or Saint and Church provided prayers bring our minds outside of ourselves which effectively ends the self-absorbed negative focus.
Here is a scripture meditation I have used. Begin by reciting the following verse slowly and out loud. Pause after each phrase and find something that fits the phrase. For example, the bird sitting outside your windowsill might be considered lovely. Then, say thanks to God for the gift of that lovely thing, in this case the blueish grey bird with a delightful chirp.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8)
Picture: Ahovsoyan, 6 June 2012. GNU Free Documentation License, retrieved on Wikimedia Commons.