A negative thought spiral: how do you break out of it?
A negative thought spiral: how do you break out of it?

Almost everyone is familiar with it: you are being carried away in your negative thoughts. Where is this negativity coming from and how did you get into it? But more importantly: how do you get out of it?!

How does negative thinking arise?
A lot of situations in life are exciting, we could look forward to it and have thoughts about it. Positive thoughts can help us, but if we are worrying these thoughts are usually negative which can obstruct us. While having negative thoughts, it is difficult to see possibilities.We usually just think of everything that can go wrong.

When you focus on your negative thoughts and feelings, you automatically filter your experiences through a negative filter. Because of this, positive events are hardly visible, or you even make them negative. Negative thinking causes a negative feeling, which creates more negative experiences, which causes more negative thoughts: the negative spiral!

Influence of negative thinking
Negative thinking can have an enormous impact on your state of mind, your relationship, your job, your health, your self-image and your image of others. Besides that, you can create negative expectations about the future because you only look at what you do not want to happen. Negative thinking is hard to prevent, but not impossible. A first essential step is identifying your negative thoughts. Only then you can do something about it.

How do you get rid of your negative thoughts
Because negative thoughts can lead to a negative self-image and even depression, it is advisable to act on it. You can do this independently or with the help of a coach or therapist. In this article we give a few tips on how you can handle your negative thoughts in a positive way. When you notice that you are not able to get rid of your negative thoughts by yourself, we advise you to get in touch with one of our coaches. They can help you get a grip of your situation. Or they can discuss with you if it might be better to schedule an appointment with your general practitioner.

Tips
Here are a few tips on how you can handle your negative thoughts:

  1. When you are spiraling, try to recognise this. Remember yourself that it is better to focus on something else, like your favorite music or to think about a fun memory.
  2. Challenge yourself by putting a positive thought against every negative thought. In this way you will learn to look and react more positive to situations, instead of mainly negative.
  3. Try to plan a certain moment during the day that you only want to spend on positive thoughts, for example right before going to bed. Try to write these down: this could be a moment of positivity, gratitude or satisfaction.
  4. You can break out of a negative spiral by focussing on your breath, your mind is automatically paused at that time. Try doing this for a couple of minutes or try a relaxation exercise.
  5. Find the beauty in everything, especially in the things that you usually find normal or boring. For example the smell of coffee in the morning, the background music in a store or the blossoming flowers while traveling or being outside. Everything has beauty in it, when you find this it is easier to stop your negative thoughts because your mind is more positive.
  6. Do not get angry with yourself when you notice a negative thought, but praise yourself that you noticed this thought! You are learning, noticing this thought is an essential step in the process.
  7. Try counting till 5 in our head before you react to something negative. Instead, try to give a more positive reaction. On the long term you might use positivity as a primary reaction.

Your mind is a powerful thing. When you fill it with positive thoughts your life will start to change.

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Deel dit artikel! Als dit artikel voor jou inzichtelijk was, deel het dan met je omgeving - laten we het samen hebben over mentale gezondheid.
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Ilya de Groot

Hi, my name is Ilya, I am a psychologist and coach at NiceDay. I love traveling, good food, new experiences and exercising (roller skating and skiing). The balance between effort and relaxation is important to keep, are you managing? I would like to help you with that!

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