Dear Therapist: I can't escape the negative thoughts

Making sense of the world we inhabit

By Prateeksha Shetty

Published: Thu 13 Jan 2022, 7:11 PM

Last updated: Thu 13 Jan 2022, 7:12 PM

Most of the time, I find myself having negative thoughts and I don’t know how to deal with them or change them. It’s like a constant loop in my head. How can I stop this cycle?

— Shreya N.

Dear Shreya, you are riddled by worries which are a kind of clinical anxiety. You have rightly recognised that this can take the form of a loop and you may end up ruminating further in an effort to break the cycle. Many people who suffer from such ruminations or negative thoughts attempt to challenge them which may not necessarily be fruitful always (although it may work, sometimes, temporarily). Instead, I recommend mindfulness practices that enable you to step back from your thoughts rather than being sucked into the vortex of worries. Applications like Headspace and Calm can guide you to develop a mindfulness habit, one where there is less emphasis on control or manipulation. If you continue to struggle with such anxiety, despite mindfulness practices, I recommend that you initiate psychotherapy sessions.

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