A Quick Tool to Save You From Negative Thought Spiral

October 22, 2013

“If you’re going thru hell, keep going”
– Winston Churchill


Here’s a quick technique to save you from the ravages of negative thinking. You know those moments when everything is going wrong, when you are mired with negative self talk, mind is racing and you are stuck.

Bust out your journal and write down every single bad thing about yourself that your mind is telling you.

I know this sounds super simple and easy. But it’s taken me decades to figure out that this works.

Since I got into positive thinking, law of attraction etc, I’ve been very careful of what I think, say out loud, or even write. I try not to write negative things at all costs.

This means I don’t wallow in self pity in my journals anymore. I keep it to affirmations, appreciation & things I want.

I didn’t want to accidentally “create” some of the bad things I’m writing out.

But this one weekend, things got so bad in my head and I was stuck in a corner

None of my usual tricks (high dose fish oil, sunlight lamp for s.a.d., positive thinking, bpcoffee, affirmations) were working.

So as a last resort, I mustered up what little energy I had to reach for my journal and write out all those thoughts.

I suck. What’s wrong with me. I’m crazy. I’m a bum. Why can’t I figure this out. I’ll never figure it out. I’m just going to be a crazy hermit guy everyone avoids. I’ll be single for the rest of my life. I’ll never lose weight. What the fuck. Why can’t I succeed. Balls on your moms face.

On and on. I’ll spare you the full details but I let it loose.

Instead of feeling worse, it actually felt better to get those thoughts onto paper. I felt relief and immediately rebounded back to good feeling thoughts.

When the thoughts circle in our brain, it seems real and serious. It’s like this dark inky mist that transforms from one negative thought to something even worse. It’s constantly mutating.

But once we transform that mist into written down sentences, those same thoughts seem, well, dumb.

I don’t know if this will work for you. But it is a tool you can have in your arsenal. In case of emergency, break glass & use this as a last resort.

Whatever happens, just know that your negative thoughts are misleading you. It’s a (convincing) mirage. Ride it out.

PS: Handwriting trumps typing on a computer. There are studies that say just by writing anything for 15mins, we feel better. So ideally you want handwrite your thoughts with an actual pen and (gasp) paper. But if you really can’t muster up the energy for that, I’m sure typing it into your phone or a word doc might also do the trick.