Here's something we hadn't thought of before: If you lie in bed and think, "I’m such a loser," for three days straight, pretty soon, whenever you look at your bed, you'll start thinking, "I’m such a loser," says Johnson. Trying to fight that thought by disputing it might even make you more upset. You may, in fact, find yourself thinking, "I know, I know, I’m a loser for thinking I’m a loser." Save yourself the time-and-mind suck. Get out of that bed or off that couch. Go to the park or the beach or even just the grocery store. The trip will break the repetitive cycle of your thoughts and may even spark a fresh one. After all, it’s kind of hard to think, "I’m a loser," when you’re staring at a lilac in bloom, or eating $20-a-pound brie samples—for free!—at the cheese counter.
Hit the Library
When you want to rev up your physical metabolism, the first thing to try is working out. The same goes for your mind. It needs exercise. Reading books by people who have gone through similar struggles can spur on new solutions, says Ellen Oler, LCSW, which is an approach known in psychology circles as Biblio-therapy. It also lets you know what to expect after, say, a divorce or the death of a parent. (Random rage? Crying fits on not-so-obvious anniversaries like your last mortgage payment on the house your bought together?) You'll spend less time puzzling out why the heck you’re feeling so bad and more on how to feel better. Another person's story can also work like a personal trainer—pointing out the pointless exercises to avoid, cheering you though the dark, hopeless stretches—transforming you into a lean, mean, emotion-burning machine.
Find the author at Leigh-Newman.com or @leighnew on Twitter.
More Life Lessons from Leigh Newman