How to Jump Out of an Anxiety Spiral

Natalie Dodd, LCSW
Clinical Counselor

Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could flip a switch and shut off our brains!

Unfortunately, there is no magic wand or TikTok reel that can stop unwanted thoughts, especially those pesky late night thought spirals. What this article can offer you is a way to challenge those ruminating thoughts. This may seem like more work (and to some degree, yes, it is) but with time it can become a quick and useful way to combat those thoughts without jumping into them.

Here’s an example I might use in a session with a client. Ask yourself, “what is the core belief attached to this thought.” This may look like, “I am not good enough,” “I am inadequate,” or “I should have known better.” The reality is, we are not our thoughts, but it is incredibly hard to pull ourselves out of a negative thought spiral when we have attached them to a core belief about ourselves.

We can find countless moments of “evidence” to validate these thoughts that we are “worthless.” What I challenge you to do is name the core belief. Once you can name the core belief there is an opportunity to redirect it, which increases a felt sense of control. Say to yourself, “I am having thoughts that I am a disappointment.” This separates us from the thought, “I am a disappointment.” Be curious with yourself and see if anything changes when shifting unconscious thought patterns into conscious awareness!

If you found this helpful and would like additional tools or to talk to one of our team members, call the Work/Life Connections-EAP at 615-936-1327 to schedule your free and confidential appointment today.