Thought spiraling: when one unpleasant thought triggers a chain of unpleasant thoughts.
Side affects may include: feeling anxious, overwhelmed, angry, and depressed. These feelings can lead to self-harming, isolation, impulsive decisions, etc.
- If I’m late to work —> my boss will be angry with me —> they will fire me.
- My head hurts —> it could be cancer —> I’m going to die.
We get out of thought spirals by making peace with our thoughts:
- Be an observer. In this way, we notice our thoughts, but we are not actively trying to change or avoid them.
- Identify what is causing these thoughts.
- How are these thoughts making you feel? Anxious, scared, angry, happy?
- Where do you feel this thought in your body? In your shoulders, belly, chest, arms?
- Allow the thoughts and feelings to pass. They may return, and if they do, just observe them again. Notice what thoughts tend to pass frequently.
Thoughts are like clouds. We see them from afar, accept them in whatever shape or form they are, and allow them to pass by.