Before you go deep into your next “would have, should have, could have” spiral; stop and realize that 'ruminating' isn’t just unpleasant; it leads to poor problem-solving, anxiety, and depression. The good news is that there are simple solutions:
1) Distance yourself psychologically. When you feel concern about how you’re perceived by people who have no impact on your success, realize that it doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things.
2) Shift from rumination to improvement mode. Ask yourself, “What’s the best choice right now, given the reality of the situation?” If you’re ruminating about a mistake you’ve made, adopt a strategy that will lessen the likelihood of it happening again.
3) Train your brain to become non-stick. As soon as you notice you’re ruminating, distract yourself for a few minutes by some mental or physical activity. Meditation or yoga can be especially helpful.
Rumination is a common problem. But it’s essential for your mental health and productivity to stop doing it.