What is a ‘thought spiral’?
This term, to me, evokes images of quackery and feel good, packaged, ‘Self Help’ lectures that provide little meat on the bone.
I started thinking about this this morning.
Sometimes, thought patterns begin with emotional reactivity, and the thought catches up ipso facto. What I mean by this is that you can feel embarrassed/angry/sad first. The neurotransmitters associated with your inner feelings take about 90 seconds to be completely flushed out of your system, but not if you continually refeel that emotion mechanically. Many times, you feel first, and the mind comes up with something that matches the emotion.
Lets say you feel shame because of something that immediately happened in your surroundings. One can often find oneself mechanically dwelling on shameful past memories they were “reminded of”. This is less an exercise in conscious reflection and more of a mind finding something for you to be ashamed of. To match the emotion. Left unchecked this will continue to build momentum, reacting form earlier reactivity and flooding your mind with subsequent neurotransmitters over and over again.
This is how you spiral out.
Of course the same can be done in a positive way. Feeling love, joy, connection, mirth, can invite the mind to find memories and thought patterns that match those emotions too. Your mind will search out and relive the positive emotions just as easily as the not-so-positive.