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Learning to Redirect Negative Thoughts

How to bring an emotional drop to a stop

By ShayWolfPublished 2 years ago 4 min read

We all know that when we get into a bad mood, it can be the hardest thing to do to pull ourselves out of it; or make an effort to stop it. When we’re struggling, it’s hard to think past what we’re feeling in that exact moment; or to try and come up with solutions that could help us to feel better. However, it is of utmost importance that we realize and recognize what is happening when we drop, and work quickly to put a stop to it before it turns into an uncontrollable spiral.

When something bad happens and our mood takes a turn for the worst, it can take some practice to learn and get the hang of how you can put a stop to it, and prevent yourself from feeling worse. While it can take some time to get down, there are some basic, straight forward things that you can do in the moment to help stabilize your emotions; and help to ease your mental and emotional tension. Instead of dropping into what I call an emotional “episode” you can reign yourself in before it gets too intense, and I’m going to teach you how.

When you first find yourself beginning to feel low, and/or experiencing negative thoughts, the first step is to acknowledge that it’s happening; and identify what it is you’re going through. Acknowledging what is happening helps the situation to seem more under control, and less scary or intimidating; since you know what’s going on. Upon realizing that you’re experiencing either one or both of these things, the next step is very important. This can be done in one of two ways: The first, is to picture a red stop sign in your mind. While I don’t use this method myself, others have had great results with it. The second method, is to pause and literally tell yourself the word “stop.” This can be done either silently in your head, out loud, or even both. Using these two methods together, may produce the best results.

Realizing what’s going on, and then literally putting a stop to it by telling yourself the word “stop” will halt your negative thoughts and rush of negativity in their tracks; and give your mind a reboot of sorts. After performing this crucial first step, you will have a much easier time redirecting both your emotions, and your thoughts. Stopping the train of negative thoughts prevents a stressful situation from becoming worse, and opens up the opportunity for you to take back control; and guide yourself in a different direction.

Once you’ve brought things to a stop, the second and also very important step; is to breathe. If you can, stand or sit still and take several deep, long breaths. This helps to ease not only the tension and stress in the mind, but also in the body. When you’re able to step back and breathe, you take back the reigns; and can then get control both yourself and the situation at hand. After you’ve identified the problem, brought it to a stop, and taken some breaths; you are ready to address the problem and turn it around.

All of the steps we’ve gone over above, will greatly help you be able to think more clearly and rationally; instead of impulsively acting off of your emotions and/or stress. At this point, you should feel much more stable; and be able to think clearly without your emotions trying to make you spiral out of control. Now, it’s time to combat the negative thoughts that occurred to you; with positive and constructive ones. For example, instead of blaming yourself, turn those thoughts around and instead ask yourself what you can do to improve or fix the situation. If you tend to think badly about and insult yourself like I do, try to think of some things that you like about yourself instead; no matter how little they may seem. Ask yourself what you could do that would make you like yourself more, or not be so hard on yourself. If you’re thinking negatively about somebody else, try to remember that they have emotions just like you do; and might be dealing with problems that you don’t see.

Even if this guide makes it sound straight forward and easy, the process is different for everybody, and it can take time to find the method that works best for you. Don’t be discouraged if you struggle with it, or don’t get it on the first couple tries. It took me some time to be able to stop myself in my spirals, and admittedly, a lot of the time, I usually still forget to do it. The point is, don’t be too hard on yourself if you can’t stop and redirect right away. It takes time and practice, and you need to find the right method that works for you; to pull you out of your negative space. Be patient with yourself, and above all, what’s most important is that you do your best.


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