How do you stop catastrophic thinking

Stop the carousel of thoughts: Get out of the pondering trap

What happened if…? Do you know such mind games? Then your thoughts will probably circle more often in the Thought carousel. This is annoying because it not only prevents you from productive work or healthy sleep, but also from happiness in life and endangers your health. So it's high time to stop the carousel of thought and learn ways out of the pondering trap ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Thought Carousel: Symptoms that thoughts are circling

Again the colleague from the other team leaves without one Good Morning! or something like that bypasses you. Why? What do you think of that? You wonder if you did something wrong and whether it's up to youthat the new colleague doesn't seem to like you ...

As if that weren't bad enough, this carousel of thoughts is made up of action and reaction negatively affect your work out. Instead of devoting yourself fully to your work, the same thoughts circle in your head over and over again. At least if you are one of those people who belong to the so-called Rumination tend.

Psychologists use the term to refer to the constant repetition of the same questions without coming to a conclusion. Another expression for this is thought carousel - and no matter how you call it, the The outlook is not bright.

In the long term, this pattern of thinking has serious consequences. People who too depressive moods tend to be kept in the undesirable state longer by the thought carousel. Others can no longer express their emotions as much as they might like. And the researchers were able to discover another interesting fact: women tend to brood more and more often than men.

What sets the carousel of thought in motion?

Some people are more likely than others to get lost in circling thoughts. Identify researchers some personality traitswho are conspicuously often inclined to the same pattern of thought. These include

  • Perfectionists,
  • neurotic personalities and
  • People who focus excessively on relationships with other people.

Especially in the professional environment, personalities who quickly fall into a carousel of thoughts are left behind. This thought pattern is not productive. While problem-oriented thinking geared towards a solution and usually tied to a specific issue, things look very different with rumination.

Those who get stuck in the carousel of thoughts tend to assess their person and abilities negatively and tend to be quicker and excessive self-criticism.

But that's not all. Those who are permanently stuck in negative thought loops have more stress than others - namely the kind of stress that makes us sick and unable to work in the long term. In short, the thought carousel is more than a bad habit; it can affect susceptible personalities lead to burnout.

This can also be measured: People who brood more have a higher distribution of the the disease-causing hormone cortisol than their non-brooding contemporaries.

Stop the carousel of thoughts: this is how it works

Reason enough to get out of the carousel of thought as soon as possible so that you have capacity again for the important and beautiful things in life. As is so often the case, with this therapy too, the psychological pressure is right at the beginning: People who like to get caught in negative thought loops must first Awareness of their way of thinking develop.

This is how it works: When you notice that your thoughts are starting to circle, allow it to do so for a certain period of time, for example five minutes. After these five minutes it will Taking stock:

  • What did the brooding get you?
  • Have you come to new insights?
  • Are you now aware of connections that you did not see before taking the carousel of thought?
  • And the most important question of all, how are you doing now?
  • Do you feel better or are you more sad and depressed than before?

The answers to these questions will tell you whether you are on a spiral of thought that is going nowhere or whether you are on the path of one productive solution are. If your thoughts just revolve around the problem without doing anything to solve it, it is time to break out of the carousel of thought - and there are various options:

  • Focus on the outside world

    Brooders tend to look too much with yourself too busy. Unfortunately, this does not mean that you have a clear view of a solution to the problem. But something else helps:

    Instead of focusing on yourself and your problems, direct it Look at the outside world and thus distract yourself from yourself. This is already possible with very simple means:

    • Read a book
    • Talk to a good friend on the phone
    • Take a short walk
    • Watch a movie carefully

    Admittedly, you can usually only use these activities in your free time (or lunch break) to escape the carousel of thought. You also benefit from the effects during your work: If you learn to switch off negative thoughts, you will also be less inclined to this way of thinking in the professional environment.

  • Listen to music

    To what extent this tip can be implemented in the workplace, you have to individually with your employer vote. However, some employees have the opportunity to listen to music while they work - and this can be very helpful when you are doing your rounds in the carousel of thoughts again.

    In this case, you should compile a playlist of the songs that good mood cause in you. It has been shown that pieces of music that made us feel good can trigger this feeling again.

  • Focus on the problem

    People who are prone to negative thought spirals tend to digress from the essential. Instead of solving the problem, they deal with other small problems that may arise.

    Is known the example with the hammerthat the Austrian-American psychologist Paul Watzlawick in his book Instructions on how to be unhappy carried out: A man wants to hang up in the picture, but he lacks a hammer to drive a nail into the wall. He knows, however, that his neighbor has a hammer, so he decides to ask him.

    Before it goes on its way, that sits down Thought carousel in his head in motion:

    What if the neighbor doesn't even want to lend me the hammer? I noticed yesterday that he was only greeting me casually, maybe he doesn't like me at all. Why doesn't he like me? I haven't done anything to him! What does he think of treating me like that, after all, I always treat him courteously!

    Completely upset, the man storms to his neighbor, rings the doorbell and when he opens he yells: Keep your hammer!

    Hopefully, the spiral of thought will not affect you quite that extreme. The example shows very clearly what happens when we get involved in the carousel of thought: We move away from the actual problem and create new problems for us. Instead of coming to a solution, we become more unhappy and dissatisfied. Which - we remember - affects our hormone levels and stress levels.

    The way out is relatively simple: Write Write down the original problem on a piece of paper - big and clear. The other problems that show up in the course also belong on this piece of paper, but in a column below. Leave some space on the right side of each problem to write down the solution.

    Do this for any questions that arise in your head. If you have them have represented graphically (in writing), you may be able to see a connection between each question. And not only that: the solution to one problem may also be related to the answer to another question. You can only notice this, however, if you carefully note down the questions and triggers of your thought carousel.

  • Beware of promises of salvation

    The requirement to simply think positively, then the desired effects would occur, can backfire. Instead of making us feel better and break out of the carousel of thoughts, the opposite occurs. Then namely, if positive thinking doesn't help. Some people then wonder why it is of no use to them to think positively.

    Is it your own fault that you are caught in a spiral of negative thoughts? Are you doing something wrong?

    This creates feelings of guilt and self-doubt and is therefore the opposite of what is supposed to be achieved. Instead of breaking out of the carousel of thought, it just spins faster - thanks to the questions that have come up (comparable to the criticism of the law of attraction).

    Even so, positive thinking isn't bad and you should definitely practice it. But what you shouldn't is blaming yourself for itwhen positive thinking doesn't immediately lead to the desired result.

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5th November 2020Author: Julia Sima

Julia-Eva Sima works as a freelance journalist and worked for the career bible for a few months.

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