Five Ways to Manage Thought Spirals

Earlier this week, I wrote about thought spirals, what they look like, and what we can do about them. Thought spirals can be tricky to deal with, but there are ways we can try and manage them. I’ve dealt with many thought spirals over the years, and these are some of the most effective ways I’ve found of slowing my brain down and getting back to center:

Acknowledge what is happening to you. Name the fact that your thoughts are spiraling. This might not sound like a big deal, but there is tremendous power in being able to define something, to name it or to understand what something is called. This is especially relevant when it comes to mental health, because we as a society haven’t always had healthy ways to define our experience, which lead to further stigmatization. If it feels like your thoughts are spiraling, it’s good to admit that. You might not be able to solve the problem in the moment, but knowing what something is can make it less intimidating.

Control your breathing (make sure it’s steady – check on your physical self in this moment). The link between mental health and physical health is a very real one, and our physical health can absolutely be impacted by mental health challenges. I know for myself, anxiety manifests itself physically, which means that an anxiety attack can sometimes impact my body as much as my brain. A good way to find some semblance of control is to regulate your breathing. Whether that’s taking a few deep breaths spending more time to find your breath, getting back to level is a great way to calm your brain down.

Ground yourself. Though this might sound similar to controlled breathing (and they are certainly linked), grounding yourself is much different. Thought spirals can lead to getting lost in our minds, which might mean we’re less in tune with what’s around us. Finding ways to ground yourself (here are some tips!) and remember who you are, where you are and what’s around you can help slow down that thought spiral.

Challenge one of the thoughts you’re having. A thought spiral can create a lot of different irrational thoughts, ones that can build on each other and make things overwhelming. But if we can isolate one of these thoughts and challenge it, we can try to lessen the impact of this domino effect. Challenge one of these thoughts by asking questions like is this true? Why do I think this is true? Attacking illogical thoughts with rational logic is good way that I slow down when my thoughts are getting out of hand.

Get someone else’s perspective. Mental health challenges feel isolating. Oftentimes, people think they’re the only person in the world who feels the way they feel. That can make someone feel helpless or hopeless, and makes it more of a challenge to reach out. Getting someone’s perspective can be invaluable, and can be a big help in many ways.

Now, over to you! What are some things you do when you’re dealing with a thought spiral? Is there anything you do that’s effective when dealing with a thought spiral? Let me know in the comments!

A Reminder About Healthy Foundations

Earlier this week, I wrote about how everything we do serves a purpose when it comes to our health and wellness. I focused on physical exercise and my therapy sessions, but it applies to all areas of life. Each activity can serve a different purpose, and each moment can help us in a different way. Today, I want to elaborate further on that point because something else needs to be shared along with it. In the same way everything serves a purpose, there’s not one thing we need to do that will “solve” our mental health. There’s no magical elixir that will solve all our issues. It may sound obvious but it’s often forgotten, which is why that’s the reminder I want to share in this post.

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Finding More Ways to Reset and Recharge

Recently, I noticed a lot of my posts this summer have focused on resting and recharging. This got me thinking about how this happened. I know people tend to focus on relaxing in the summer, which makes perfect sense. But all year, I’ve had a fixated interest in the concept of rest. At first, I wanted to unlearn the concept of rest that I’d practiced my entire life in favor of something new. But I learned something else invigorating about resting and recharging, and I’d like to share that today.

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Why My Mental Health Makes Me Feel Stagnant

It happens to all of us every now and then — at certain points in our lives, we feel stagnant. We feel like we’re doing too may things and not enough at the same time; we feel like we’ve accomplished so much, but at the same time haven’t accomplished anything of value. And while I have tried to figure out ways to deal with these feelings (keep an eye out for Thursday’s post!), today I wanted to write about how that makes me feel because here’s a secret: part of the reason I feel stagnant is because in many ways, my mental health is improving. And while that can be good, I don’t know what to do with that.

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Five Ways To Cope With Limitations

As I wrote about earlier this week, it’s been a very interesting road to coming to terms with some of my limitations. Identifying my limitations (whether they’re physical, mental, emotional, etc.) is an important part of growth I’m coming to terms with. But the next step is more challenging: how do I cope with these limitations? How do I manage my feelings around them so they don’t make me upset, annoyed or depressed? I found five things I’m going to start trying in an effort to cope with some of my limitations, and I hope these offer some help to anyone looking to do the same!

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I Don’t Want to Leave My Anxiety At Home

Every day, people go into the world and do things. We run errands, we go to work and school, we exercise…the list goes on. And when we go out into the world, we bring our whole self with us. If we’re happy, we’re going out into the world with a smile on our face. If we’re upset, we’re not in a good mood, and the world is going to hear about it. Either way, we still go out. I’m usually annoyed at the fact that I have to continuously interact with the world, because it means I have to bring my depression and anxiety with me. But everyone once in a while, I can actually use that to my benefit.

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The Difficulty of Putting Mental Wellness First

Mental wellness is one of my favorite things to talk and learn about. Because of that, I’ve learned a lot about the ways that people incorporate mental wellness into their day-to-day lives. From therapy and meditation to physical exercise and coping strategies, there are plenty of ways that we tangibly put our wellness first. However, focusing on mental wellness in our daily lives isn’t as easy at it sounds. Why? Simply put, life happens – and that’s okay.

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Changing My Perspective to Improve My Mental Wellness

The inspiration for this post came a few days ago. I was riding a stationary bike at my girlfriend’s for the second day in a row, and I wasn’t sure how much I was going to get out of it. The day before, I slogged through the ride, feeling like I wasn’t really getting what I needed. I didn’t think I had the mindset to do that again, so I decided to adjust everything on the bike – and I mean everything. The seat, the handlebars, the resistance on the pedals. I ended up having one of the best workouts I’d had in a few weeks. When I was done, I immediately thought about the connection between this workout, my mental health, and how perspective is allowed to change and adapt when it comes to our wellness.

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How ‘Life Hacks’ Simplify My Mental Health Challenges

For me, an important part of living with depression and anxiety is research. Back when I was first learning about my mental health struggles Google was my best friend, and I’d look up everything from symptoms to the best way I can overcome depression. I found a lot of helpful information that taught me a lot about mental health and what I was dealing with, but not all of the information felt helpful to me. And it usually came when I was on a page that would talk about ‘life hacks’ to improve my mental health or beat depression. While I love the concept of life hacks, their application to mental health simplifies the challenges we face every day. I struggle with the idea of using life hacks to ‘beat’ depression, and here’s why.

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A Good Kind of Nervous: Developing a Better Relationship with My Nerves

I know I should be starting off 2021 with a New Year post (though you should be warned, there won’t be much of the ‘New Year, New Me’ energy that you might see elsewhere), but since I started a new job this week, I wanted to touch on nerves and being nervous. People’s relationships with these feelings can be tenuous and stressful, and those experiences can continue to dictate how we allow ourselves to feel about nerves. This week, I was (and am) definitely feeling nervous, and for good reason. But for the first time in awhile, there’s a sense of positivity to that feeling that I don’t experience often, and I think it’s not only related to this new opportunity, but also reflects how I’m changing my relationship with nerves.

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