Repetitive thoughts about anger, frustration, or suffering serve to keep you continually visiting the past or future-projecting into the future. You become comfortable with the uncomfortable feelings, giving them permission to take over the present moment.
Like an itch to be scratched, you keep going for the wound, hoping that this time you will come up with a solution to your pain.
Getting caught up in negative repetitive thoughts can be habit-forming. At some point, these thought loops become not just a habit, but depression can set in if these thoughts continue to run rampant in your mind.
How do you stop these negative repetitive thought loops? Here are some ideas:
- Do something fun. Looking forward to having fun can change your state of mind. Having fun definitely changes your state of mind and the thoughts you’re thinking.
- Do something new. Engage your brain by focusing on the newness of things. Get out of your rut.
- Do something challenging. Engage your brain by really engaging your brain!
- Talk with a therapist.
- Check on your physical health. You may be experiencing fluctuating hormones, going through menopause, have a low thyroid, be deficient in certain vitamins or minerals, etc.
- Start a gratitude practice. Focus on the good. Eventually, this becomes a habit.
- Get outside more. Sometimes these negative thought loops may be caused by a lack of sunlight (SAD–Seasonal Affective Disorder).
- Go out in nature and be present to the environment around you.
- Help someone else.
- Start an affirmation practice. Print out 3 or 4 and keep them handy for when you start thinking negatively.
- Meditate. Use a recording to guide your meditation at first so you won’t automatically succumb to the negative thoughts. Gradually, sit for 2, then 5, then 10 minutes in meditation on your own.
- Choose a time during the day to think only of those thoughts. For half an hour, let them have the show–don’t judge them, just observe them. Only think of these thoughts at the allotted time.
- Write your thoughts down in a journal and leave them there. Each day, “dump” your thoughts on a new page.
You are are not a victim–you are 100% responsible for your thoughts. It is up to you to take charge and change them. If they don’t enhance your life in any way, then they are detracting from it.
Acknowledge the thoughts, find new ways of addressing them, and move on in life instead of being in a place that already happened or might never happen. Your life right now is a direct reflection of your thoughts. How do you want your life to be?
Take control, take action, do something different.
Do you get stuck in repetitive thought loops? What are they about? Do you feel helpless? Do you feel unheard or misunderstood? Are you addicted to drama in any way?