Letting Go as an Aspect of Rumination and Its Relationship to Mindfulness, Dysphoria, Anxiety, and Eudemonic Well-Being

Behav Sci (Basel). 2022 Sep 29;12(10):369. doi: 10.3390/bs12100369.


Background: We examined how a newly proposed facet of rumination, that is, the (in)ability to let go, might relate to other aspects of rumination and to psychological outcomes. Methods: In two independent samples (n = 423 and 329, resp.) of college students, we measured a broad set of rumination and rumination-related measures, letting go, anxiety and dysphoria; in the second sample, we also collected data on mindfulness, self-compassion and eudemonic well-being. Results: Factor analysis of rumination and rumination-related measures yielded three factors: (a) negative intrusive thought; (b) reflectiveness; and (c) the inability to let go. Repetitive intrusive thought and the ability to let go were significant (and thus partially independent) predictors for the three outcomes of anxiety, dysphoria, and wellbeing. The inability to let go and repetitive intrusive thought significantly mediated between mindfulness and all three outcomes. Conclusions: The findings suggest that letting go is a potentially interesting aspect of rumination not fully captured in the traditional concept of rumination and its standard measures.

Keywords: anxiety; depression; letting go; mindfulness; rumination.

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.