How To Get Out Of A Vicious Cycle Of Unhappy Thoughts
I want to acknowledge how hard it can be to get out of the vicious cycle of negative thoughts. Especially after a relationship ending, a death of a loved one, basically any situation that has left you feeling bad and stuck in your head, no situation is too little. Once a cycle like this starts it can bring you down first thing in the morning if you are not careful. It can set the tone for the day, and leave you lying in bed awake at night. Its’ certainly no fun.
So, I’ve come to the conclusion, after a lot of long nights, that it’s easier to find something to look forward to than it is to turn off negative thoughts. Especially because sometimes there is nothing to do, no action to take, and you just feel bad and keep reliving the situation. Instead of that, let’s get on to something you want! Change the channel on the dial and change the focus of our minds! So, find a place by yourself, find something to write on and with. Sit comfortably and take a couple deep breaths, now you are ready to go.
Turn to Good Thoughts
Think of something that gives you a good feeling: your pet, a funny video, a friend, a picture you drew, a child; anything that promotes a happy feeling inside. It’s okay if it takes a few minutes here and feels it out. If you can’t find anything, start in general; like my pillow makes me happy, a warm bath feels good, I like the feel of nature – anything to get your emotions a little bit lighter, take the edge off of a negative flow.
Now that you’ve taken a few minutes to think about what makes you feel good. Go ahead and start writing, give your hands something to do, and continue to allow the happy, good feeling thoughts to flow onto the paper. The more you write about what makes you feel good, and seriously focus on those thoughts, the more we sever the negative cycle that has been going on.
Think of Things You Enjoy Doing
Now we are going to expand from writing down something that makes you feel good, to writing down things you enjoy doing. I love dancing, I love laughing, the beach makes me happy, I enjoy gardening, I like getting a pedicure. Avoid any subject that doesn’t feel good, just skip unhappy thoughts, and only keep the good stuff. Try and do this for at least 2 to 3 minutes. The routine negative thoughts are going to creep in every few minutes, but don’t get discouraged. Just tell yourself I am thinking about something else right now and try and try again to keep going with the happier subject.
Write Down Things You are Looking Forward To
That was a short exercise to get you into a better space emotionally. Now write down things you could look forward to, somewhere you want to travel, what is something you want to eat, what is the next car you want to have? Just have fun thinking about things that YOU like. Don’t associate this with anyone else if you can help it, just keep it general as soon as you hit a subject that might feel bad, move on, do not hover over any thoughts that make you feel negative.
Keep moving, and write down things that you have always wanted to do. It can be as general as I want to go on a hike in the mountains, I look forward to dying my hair, I look forward to taking my dog to the beach. How do the things you are writing down make you feel? More hopeful, maybe feel like there is more going on with you than the negative thoughts? Do this for at least a few minutes and start to look forward to new things in your life. Maybe you don’t have these things or experiences right now, but allowing yourself to have new thoughts, and thoughts that make you feel good, are going to help you shift.
Our minds can be a very unhappy place to be sometimes. If happy, good feelings are what you want, take a few minutes a day to invest in your happiness by moving towards something you want, instead of focusing on letting something go. You’ll find the more attention you pay to the good in your life, and the generally happier you are, the more the problems will smooth themselves out.
Tips for Bedtime and Morning Time
Morning: Put up a picture or saying of something that makes you smile or laugh. Put it close to your bed, or in the bathroom so you see it first thing in the morning. Help yourself out by trying to set the tone for the day.
Nighttime: When you lay in bed and your mind starts to wonder, tell yourself “This is time for me to relax and I can just lay here and rest and it’s not the time to solve problems, it’s my restful time” and every time a worrying thoughts enters, say again “This is my time to relax and rest”.
Decide before you get to the bed that night time is your time, and nothing can be accomplished there but sleeping and relaxing. It’s not the time to relive problems or worries. It takes a few nights, but I found it helpful.
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