How to Stop Spiraling Thoughts

Spiraling thoughts are something that all of us have experienced at some point. You start with one negative thought and after a couple minutes your mind is filled with a hoard of worse-case scenarios. When you are going through this it can feel like you have lost control of your mind and body.  It can be both exhausting and terrifying at the same time.

In these moments it feels as if it will never end.  Thankfully,  there are ways to interrupt these thought processes.  In this world we can’t expect that we won’t encounter negative thoughts on a daily basis but we can develop skills to decrease the effects they have on us.  Try these 3 techniques this week and let us know how effective they are for you.

Become Aware

When you have spiraling moments, being aware of the thoughts and identifying them can help you separate yourself from the scenario you have created in your mind. Ask yourself if this thought is realistic or not and if it holds any truth. Just because it’s a thought that crossed your mind doesn’t mean it’s true or even logical.

A way you can judge the merit of a thought is by trying to picture how you would talk to a friend if they came to you with the same scenario. How would you speak to them? What would you tell them? Would you validate their fear?

Compare to Past Experiences 

Thinking of past experiences can help decrease the fear of a spiraling thought. For example, let’s say that the spiraling thought process is this:

    I have a sore throat and fever
    The Doctor is going to tell me I have to go to the hospital
    If I go to the hospital then I am going to have to stay the night
    If I stay the night then I won’t be able to pay for the hospital bills and will go bankrupt.

In this moment one thought has spiraled into four negative thoughts. Instead of letting the thought process get that far along, you can stop and remember the last time you had a sore throat and a fever. Walk through that experience and think of the likelihood of other options happening.

Change Your Anxiety Routine

No matter if you are aware of it or not, everyone has an anxiety routine. It is how we react to anxiety induced thoughts or situations. It is important to recognize if the routine you have right now is helping you or giving you more anxiety.

Right now your anxiety routine might be internalizing your thoughts and sitting in your fear. Recognizing if your routine is helping you can be beneficial when you start to spiral.

Here are a few helpful actions you can take add to your routine when experiencing anxiety:

  • Talk to a friend
  • Go outside
  • Take a walk or exercise
  • Find a quick distraction- watch a show/read a book/call a friend
  • Breathing exercises
  • Find a therapist to help you address the source and walk you through how to implement helpful techniques selected uniquely for you.
  • If you found this helpful and want to move forward to heal and explore what your best next steps are then we are here for you.  At New Vision Counseling and Consulting we have a team of therapists trained to walk with you through the pain and help you heal and make sense of what to do next.  You don’t need to walk this path alone because we are here to help.  You can reach us at (405) 921-7776 or go to our website at to learn more about how we can best help you.