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Spiraling - how do I cope with it

Community Member

I don't really know how to explain how I'm feeling.

The best way to describe it was in a stream of consciousness thing I did.

"I hate being stuck in my head. Someone once explained to me that it felt like a spiral. At first, you think nothing of it; the spiral is large and loose. But, when you start to think more about it, the tighter it becomes, until it's around your neck, strangling every emotion out of you. It is dangerous for me to think like this because once I am in it, it is impossible to climb my way out."

I tend to fixate on one single word, or one single sentence and become utterly obsessed with the ideas behind it. I dance, and it had been a good 2 months out of competing in my state when a girl told me about my rival. I was on a plane trip back from an interstate competition, in which I did win - but I felt as if I didn't dance well.

"He is looking strong," she notified me.

I didn't feel strong. I didn't feel as if I danced well. What does strong mean? Physically strong? Technique? Is he better than me? He is, isn't he?

Thousands of thoughts were buzzing through my head and I honestly couldn't think, grasp or even decipher a single one of them. And I just felt exhausted by the time I arrived home, and then for the next 2 weeks. And then it all went away when I beat him at the next competition against him - by a lot. I had wasted all of my energy on something I didn't even need to be worried about.

So basically, what I am asking is:

Is there any way that I can stop obsessing over small, and possibly insignificant, ideas? Are there any ways to get out of the spiral once I'm in it?

4 Replies 4

Dear hewieth14,

Thank you for writing about your confusion around how your thinking can spiral out of your control. It takes strength and courage to start posting in our helpful and supportive community.

We understand that there are many different ways that people process their thought patterns. It often seems as though when we start feeling anxious about something, that thing takes over our thoughts.

We know that almost everybody experiences some anxiety around things which are important to them. So, the question here might become:

How can I intercept my worry rather than letting it consume me?

You stated that, for you, the worry served a purpose. The worry helped you focus on the specifics of your technique so you were able to perform at a high level during the competition.

We look forward to seeing what our wonderful community contributes.

Warm regards,

Sophie M.

Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi hewieth14,

This is such a great question, and I can absolutely relate to the spiral. I journal a fair bit, and it's almost ridiculous to see the way my mind gets so carried away with something that seemed so unnecessary at the time.

The biggest thing that's helped me with these things (even though I still struggle) is psychological distancing. Which is kind of a fancy word for stepping back a little mentally from everything that's going on. So rather than you feeling tight and strangled yourself, you can just visualise that. Or the ability to recognise that things are buzzing around your head and liken it to a bunch of bees.

Mindfulness is also a big tool that works for me, trying to bring my attention back and gently focus on the present.

It's not an easy thing to do, because your brain and all of our brains are wired to figure things out and problem solve all the time. But you are aware that this happens to you, so it's just seeing if you can notice when you're in that spiral.

I hope this helps a little! Very keen to read the other posts and how other members on the forums deal with these spirals too.


Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi hewieth14

Well come to our forums.

Im sorry you have felt this way.

I understand spirals, I use to get caught up in them a lot.

Im now free of the spiral because I can recognise it before it gets any further along, I try to stop engaging in it as soon as I notice it.

As soon as I begin to notice it I then disengage from it I don’t question the thoughts and I take my attention away from it by putting my attention on my positive thoughts or in the present moment.

It takes practice, meditation can help with this.

What we give attention to we give power to..

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

So we have 60k thoughts a day, 99% of humans are addicted to thinking, thinking saps energy from the body, our thoughts also create our emotions and emotions feed back to the psyche. However the brain is separate from the mind, meaning the brain follows whatever the mind focussed on and thinks. So basically you need to learn what spirituality is. It’s how you begin to stop thinking and also change the nature of the thoughts.

This is what I reccomend you do, start reading self development books. Also start listening to educational content ie Tony Robbins, and many other people. When your listening you don’t have self talk going on. Whatever you feed your senses you become. Hence reading and listening to positive messages.

we have a conscious mind and subconscious mind, sub mind is a computer that governs our whole life. It has stored every experience and emotions and memories. If it’s more negative you will suffer mentally.

when we have chronic worry we create a stress response called cortisol chemical, it’s highly destructive and that’s the reason we feel crap when anxious. We also become stupid while anxious.

so here is what I suggest you should do. Read what I believe is the most powerful book written, it’s called the power of now. By eckhart tolle. Then read his second book a new earth. Also read the untethered soul by Michael singer

now Here’s the thing, sometimes our mind is so sped up that you can’t catch your thoughts. And I understand that. The trick is you don’t stop the thoughts, you don’t fight them don’t ever suppress them, go towards the feelings. We have to delude the thoughts, you do this by adding new messages and memories and experiences that are positive. Walk on grass or sand or go in water bare foot, nature has negative irons good for the soul. Excersising daily atleast 40 minutes. Focus on intentionally making others feel happy, to be loved be loving, to be joyous find joy. Need to change our self talk and treat ourselves kindly. Those books will change your life I really mean it. Anxiety and depression come from the story we are telling ourselves, they are conditions they are not who we are. They are what has happened to us.

Your mission is to find out how to change your thinking. When we focus on the future events (we create anxiety) when we are in pain about a past experience or past conditioning we get (depression) focus on the root cause rather then the symptoms