Spiraling thinking also known as catastrophic thinking, can be seen as a hard habit nowadays. It is a cycle of negative thoughts that escalates and can become overwhelming, such as a missed call from your mother may be interpreted as bad news of some family member or relative. If you are consistently trapped in the web of such thoughts, it will result in increased cortisol levels in your brain and exaggerate your stress levels. Yet, people often feel powerless to stop overthinking. This is because they have made the issue in their mind so big that it paralyzes the person to take any meaningful action against it.
A negative thinking pattern is like a paper cut that gives way to a cascade of thoughts emerging from a vague idea. These triggering thoughts can also stem from general anxiety, depression or a mental health condition, which can further worsen your thinking process. Some common symptoms that are a result of negative thinking are:
- COMPLAINING- Those who constantly complain about each and every thing, forget to focus on their own growth and progress. They get stuck in a loop of focusing on problems rather than seeking solutions, which becomes a habit and fills one’s mind with additional problems.
- CRITICIZING- This gradually dulls a person’s light and creativity because it creates anger and defensiveness toward others. Criticizing puts others down. It’s also a reminder that the person doing the critiquing does not have positive thought patterns. So, stop negative criticism to avoid negative spiraling.
- CONCERN- showing concern is a good way of expressing care to your loved ones. The concern a mother shows her child is warm and satisfying, and we expect the same from our future partners too. However, if you are too concerned, it can turn into worry and interference. This will start the loop of negative thoughts and drain your energy.
- DISCUSSING- It’s good to share how you feel with others, but if you find yourself rehashing your problems over and over again, your mind will begin to focus on this. Discussing problems repeatedly can lead to negative thinking and can eventually trigger you to have constant spiraling negative thoughts in your mind.
BREAKING NEGATIVE SPIRALS
- BRING YOURSELF BACK TO THE PRESENT MOMENT
Life is in the present, not the past or the future. This is why it’s important to stay in the present or practice mindfulness techniques like deep breathing and meditation. It will put a stop to overwhelming thoughts and assist in breaking negative spirals. You will be able to calm your nervous system and build a strong mental framework that will make you resilient to withstand further negative thinking.
- BREAK THE THOUGHT PROCESS
It is easy to tell someone to change or stop negative thinking, but it can be difficult to practice. A good way to stop negative thoughts is to exercise. Go out for a walk, dance in the living room, or head to the gym. This will promote the release of happy hormones that can turn your mood around and pull you out of a negative spiral.
WRITE DOWN YOUR THOUGHTS
Journaling is the process of writing down your feelings in a diary. Through this process, you externalize your feelings helping to get more clarity. When you are writing, it often reveals solutions too. You are able to analyze the same problem with a different outlook.
- TALK TO YOUR FRIENDS
Sharing your feelings with a friend can be therapeutic. At times, you don’t need any solution, but just someone to listen to you talk about your fears and concerns out loud. If you repeatedly discuss the issue with every friend or family member, you may get too many opinions and feel weighed down. So, try to talk to only one or two close friends you completely trust.
- INDULGE IN SOME ACTIVITY
The best way to get over a negative thought is to distract yourself by engaging in something new. Try a new hobby. It may be a new language, a craft, a new style of cooking or dancing. Hobbies will keep you engaged, leaving no spare time for overthinking and stressing about negative thoughts. These self-engaging activities can also become part of your daily routine in, providing you with a sense of stability and comfort.
- FOCUS ON YOURSELF
Pampering yourself or taking time for yourself is very important to boost your self-esteem and stay positive. Nurture your being with a warm bath, skincare or just a walk in the park whenever you feel down. Even little things you do for yourself will uplift your mood and not let you fall into the well of negativity.
- BLOCK THE NEGATIVE TRIGGERS
Every negative thought has a negative input. It is very important to find this trigger and limit or stop the exposure before it affects you mentally. Some people can be triggered by social media or talking to a toxic person. Take breaks from your phone and try to avoid people who bring you down. You must stay away from negativity for peace of mind.
- REFRAME NEGATIVE THOUGHTS
Anything that pops up in your mind is not always to be believed. So, question yourself when you have any disturbing or negative thoughts, rather than validating them right away. Be wise enough to analyze your thoughts realistically and halt the spiraling process.
Persistent negative thoughts form a negative spiral that can impair your quality of life. At times, it may also be a result of some mental health condition like anxiety disorders or depression. Never be ashamed to seek professional help to help break negative spirals. It’s courageous to ask for help and put the health of your mind first.
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