Home Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy Spiralling Psychologically Can Feel Like a Deep Canyon. Here’s How to Manage It

Spiralling Psychologically Can Feel Like a Deep Canyon. Here’s How to Manage It

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As a counsellor, one of the biggest obstacles that many people that I work with, is struggling with is the inability to slow down, or stop the negative thoughts that flood them.

I often meet up with individuals who have all sorts of amazing, creative ideas. Yet, what is stopping them from letting their talent flow is overwhelming, negative self-talk, like: ‘I am not good enough,’ ‘The result is not good enough,’ ‘I can’t find the energy,’, or ‘I am not feeling like it.’

Do you recognize any of these in yourself?

The awareness

First of all, in order to be able to change thinking processes, we need to be aware of them. I like to compare it to having a camera supervising our thoughts. Start making yourself aware of what is going through your head by asking yourself: ‘What am I telling myself right now?’

This is very important because, how can I change my thinking if I am not even aware of what is going through my head?

The breaks

Once I am aware of what I am thinking, I can ask myself: ‘Am I ready to take some distance from it?’ In other words: ‘Am I willing to accept that my thoughts are not as real as I am making them?’

Many of us hold on to thoughts about who we are, creating an entity called identity or ego. Even though the two are not exactly the same thing in psychology, they are closely related, for our practical purposes. This identity becomes so important to us that we are willing to go to great lengths to preserve it. Over the centuries, more than one duel has taken place, so that someone could keep their identity in their own eyes and have this image survive in the eyes of others. Would you like to be one of the duellers or would you rather choose freedom?

If your answer is the latter, then remind yourself that: ‘I am not my thoughts. Thoughts, even though they might sound very real are just energy in motion. As such, I can change my inner dialogue any time.’

Can you think of a sentence that is better adapted to your specific need? I’ll be glad to hear from you.

The turnaround

Once you have taken some distance from your thoughts, you are ready for the next step: the turnaround.

The turnaround could easily be summed up as a new sentence, or set of sentences, credible to me as an individual that favour flow in my life, rather than having a hampering effect.

So, for example, when I catch myself saying: ‘I am not good enough for this task,’ a potential turnaround could be: ‘I know full well that I am perfectly able to do this. I have done it in the past and not only has it been fun; it has also brought me new friendships.’

Similarly: ‘I am never going to be an entrepreneur,’ could end up being: ‘I have some amazing ideas that I know could create products and/or services that could enhance the lives of others and as a consequence, sell well. I can take it one step at a time. I can keep my current job and commit about ten minutes every day to writing a plan for my soon-to-be business.’

One word of caution here. It’s very important that your turnaround be credible to you as an individual and, even more importantly, that you feel it; that it create a sense of excitement in you.

Do you know what projects are the ones that really take off on this planet?

The ones that have one or more visionaries that are totally passionate about their project, be it scaling a mountain, creating a new business, running a marathon or baking a superb cake for themselves and their family. Don’t take my word for it. Look around you, in the world of business, of sports, of cooking. Are the individuals whose names come to mind passionate about what they do? Or is it just drudgery for them?


Next time you find yourself spiralling into negative territory and telling yourself that, basically, you might as well not even try, attempt to follow the steps above. I believe you will see changes happening in your life that you would never have thought possible.

Would you like to go past your blockages with some support? I am pleased to offer you one free session to start the process of getting you moving ahead. Get in touch with me. You can also ready my free to download ebook, 4 Steps to a Healthy Romantic Relationship.

Jerry Zondervan is an author, counsellor, and a coach. He adheres to the humanistic approach and loves to help people change their relationship.

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