Raise your hand if you are familiar with the following situation: Something new in your life is going well and you’re feeling pretty excited about it (think relationship, new job, life change)! Is your hand up? I genuinely hope so! Then one day, you have one, not so positive thought about this new thing in your life that up until now was bringing you great joy. And then one not so positive thought leads to another, and another, and before you know it, you are completely consumed and spiraling in your own thoughts about this thing that was and is actually a positive in your life. Is your hand still up? Mine too. This was me this past weekend and it sucked. So in hedging my bets that I am not the only one who spirals sometimes, I am sharing 5 ways to deal with a spiraling episode.
Identify that you are indeed spiraling
In the continuous phone calls this weekend between me and my mother and me and a best friend, each one started with, “I know I’m spiraling.” Maybe it’s the Virgo in me, being painfully self-aware is my gift, and my curse. A few signs to look for if you are less familiar:
- Everything is actually fine outside of your own thoughts – think no smoking gun, no identifiable actions or conversations
- All of your negative thoughts were triggered by one of your own negative thoughts
- You are obsessing – these thoughts are consuming you, affecting your mood, logic has taken a backseat to the reasoning you are doing with yourself and your negative thoughts
Talk it out
Spiraling is never fun, but I think it happens to a lot of us. The best thing I have found to work through it quicker is to be able to talk it out. I like to talk to the same person or people (sorry Mom and Bestie) for the whole spiral since they are calm and way more rational than you will be, they may be able to hear and help you identify repeated concerns or themes to your thoughts. Even though since you are spiraling, you most likely won’t be able to absorb what they are saying fully.
Identify the underline issue
Whatever the negative thought is that got you spiraling, it stemmed from something. Hopefully when you are talking it out with your chosen person they will be able to assist you in identifying that something, so you can address it. Example: I am in the early stages of dating someone new, which is really fun and exciting! But after an entire weekend of quietly spiraling…my mom helped me identify my spiral stemmed from fear (and maybe PMS)! But my fear was that I did not want to be on the island of more vested feelings, by myself.
Do something for you
Dealing with a spiral is completely and utterly exhausting for you and your chosen person. You are most likely an emotional, broken record, void of any semblance of logic, and now you have taken a hostage! So in between those completely necessary phone calls do something you enjoy to help relieve your stress: walk the dog, workout, bubble bath, make your favorite meal. Doing an activity that could otherwise be mindless may help you sort through and start to work through your spiral without the pressure of figuring it all out at once.
Stay in the moment
I said it before, and I’ll say it again, stay in the moment. It is calmest, happiest way to live life. It is also easier said than done, one of those things that takes years to master, but is well worth the effort. I got out of the moment this past weekend and paid the price, letting negative thoughts from past relationships creep into my mind and cause a full-blown spiral episode. If you have a new something or someone in your life bringing you positive vibes and happiness, try to be present in each and every moment so you can fully receive the positivity. Not only will life be that much more enjoyable and meaningful, but outside of the moment you open yourself up to negative thoughts and feelings that you have no control over because they actually have nothing to do with your present situation.
Look, it takes a village to combat a spiral. Do you have a go to method for how to deal? Share it below so we can help each other out of a spiral and into our best lives!