If you have you’re not alone.
But is it really necessary and can we do something to get us off that negative wheel?
Why does it happen?
Your brain is a big pattern making machine. It likes things to make sense. It likes to have stories about what’s going on. And it sometimes likes to make things up to make other stuff make sense.
So let’s say you wake up feeling a bit down. Your brain will try to make a story as to why you’re feeling down. Even if there isn’t really a reason for how you feel. It scans all the things that have made you feel down in the past. Maybe your job isn’t very stimulating, maybe your relationship could be better, maybe your friend said something insensitive. Maybe all three.
Your brain will mull over all the things that have that negative feeling associated with it. While it’s doing that you’re feeling all the negative feelings as intensely as when they first happened.
Because your body and mind are one big feedback loop this makes you think of even more negative things. Which makes you feel even more negative things. And around and around it goes.
So how do we outsmart our brain and stop the big negative wheel?
For starters, if you wake up feeling a bit down you can just acknowledge the feeling without trying to make sense of it. Sometimes feelings just arise with no particular trigger. It helps to just let them be and pass on their own.
If you do find yourself in a negative loop, recognise that’s what’s happening. Rather than looking for more reasons to explain why you’re feeling negative, try changing the subject in your head. You don’t have to switch to something massively positive, just change it to a different channel. This is practicing having more control over your thoughts.
You could try what Brene Brown suggests – acknowledge the thoughts and say to yourself “the story I am telling myself says….”. That way you’re telling your brain that you know this feeling/thinking may not be an accurate reflection of reality.
If you keep practicing these things you will slowly train your brain to pay less attention to negative things and you should be generally happier.