Stopping thoughts from spiralling.
How we think about things can affect our mood. And equally, our mood can affect how we think about things. These two elements can then get into a vicious cycle, where they make each worse and worse. For example, if I trip over a rug...... If I’m in a good mood or a normal mood and I usually feel ok about myself, I will think something like “oh drat. That’s annoying.” Or “lucky I didn’t hurt myself”. But if I’m feeling grumpy, I might think “what a stupid place to put a rug, what silly person out that there”. Or if I’m feeling sad or bad about myself, I might think “ugh, I’m so clumsy. I’m such an idiot”. Sometimes these thoughts can then “spiral” out of control, where the thought quickly gets worse and harsher. For example.... I’m clumsy, I can never do anything right, I’m so stupid, I’ll never be able to do anything.... It’s difficult to tell ourselves what to think or not to think, so rather than that, it’s good to practice simply spotting these thoughts that might get out of control and saying “stop” to them.
What You'll Need
- You don’t need anything, you can practice this anytime, anywhere.
- Just the determination to “police” your thoughts. And some gentle kindness for yourself.
What You'll Do
- Monitor your thoughts and look out for those that are harsh or ‘mean’ about you or something you’ve done.
- Pay special attention to thoughts that say something bad about you generally rather than something specific.
- When you spot these, say to yourself “stop”. Or this is just a thought, I’m not going to let it go any further.
- If you want to take it a step further you can challenge the thought and say to yourself something like “yes, that was a silly mistake to make. But it doesn’t mean I’m a bad person / bad friend / stupid etc.
- You could even try swapping it for an alternative “so maybe I did mess this thing up, but I did it really well yesterday”. Or “yes, I do struggle with maths, but I’m really good at English.”
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