I remember trying to go to sleep at night and having my thoughts completely run wild. It would start with one negative thing and then move to another and then another.
I would lay there staring at the ceiling and replay conversations from years ago.
Before I knew it I was dwelling on tiny mistakes I made ages ago and beating myself up.
I felt terrible and this habit of letting my thoughts spiral negatively at bedtime robbed me from many hours of sleep. It made my depression more difficult to manage and I spent most of my life feeling like a zombie.
If you can relate to this keep reading because I’ve put all my best tips for stopping a negative thought spiral in this guide for you. I hope it helps you and brings you a little peace.
Go On a Gratitude Rampage
This is one of my favorite ways to shift out of a negative spiral. Get out a notebook and challenge yourself to write a list of 100 things you’re thankful for.
They can be big things or small things just try and get to 100.
I’ve found that the trick to getting this to really work is to consciously try and FEEL thankful in your body as you write your list. After you write something down close your eyes and really FEEL how grateful you are for that person place or thing.
Try and send them love energetically and let yourself feel thankful. I also like to do this in my mind as I go through the day. Anytime any small good thing happens I use it as a trigger to list ten more things that have gone good that day. If you want to hear more about my gratitude practice check out my podcast episode below.
Call In Positive Emotions
I feel like this exercise is like going to the gym but for your emotions. The more I do this exercise the stronger I get at it and it gets easier every time.
When you notice your thoughts starting to turn into a negative spiral pick a positive emotion you want to feel instead. It can be aw, joy, love, happiness or any positive emotion that you want to feel.
Challenge yourself to think of things to make yourself feel that emotion in your body. You can anchor yourself in the present moment and feel love for all the air and sunlight that is around your or close your eyes and think intensely about someone you love.
Once you have the emotion in your body challenge yourself to make it as intense as possible using your thoughts and emotions. Once you get good at this you can easily call in any positive emotion that you want to feel.
I find that feeling positive emotions in my body really helps improve my thought patterns.
Phone a Friend
Sometimes talking to someone can take you out of your head and anchor you back in reality. Call someone and really focus on them as much as possible. Encouraging and listening to someone else will usually take me out of my head and break my thought process.
Try to only let yourself focus on what they are saying and set the intention to make whoever you are talking to feel really good.
If you need support it’s OK to call and ask someone for support too but I find that setting a positive intention and making someone else feels good pulls me out of any negative spiral I am in.
Sometimes the best way to get out of your head is to just get up and DO something.
Listen to music. Go for a walk. Have a dance party. Clean out your closet.
As you’re doing your activity challenge yourself to stay in the moment. If your mind starts to wander gently bring your focus back to the task you’re doing.
I used to really struggle with staying in the present moment but I’ve found that doing short guided meditations have really helped me learn to guide and control my thoughts. I use the Headspace app and I really like it. If you want to learn how to meditate they have an awesome free ten-day course that teaches you how to meditate and it’s really good.
Go To Therapy
If you’re really struggling and having a hard time it’s time to get help. One of my biggest regrets is not going to therapy sooner and letting my mental health get really bad before I did anything about it.
A therapist will be able to help you make a plan to break your negative thought patterns and anchor yourself in the current moment.
Often if we’re having a lot of intense negative thoughts it’s because we have an underlying confidence issue or past trauma. A therapist can help you sort through all of the underlying reasons WHY your thoughts are turning into negative spirals.
If you’re interested in talking to a therapist over video chat, phone call or email I recommend BetterHelp. This service has been great for me and I recommend it to anyone interested in getting therapy online.
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I am not a licensed therapist or mental health professional. If you are suffering from a major disorder and need treatment please seek the help of a professional. If you need help finding a mental health care provider call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit BetterHelp to talk to a certified therapist online at an affordable price. This post contains affiliate links, you can read my full disclosure policy here.
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