How to stop your thought carousel reliably and forever

Reading time 6 minutes
How to stop your thought carousel reliably and forever

Thoughts go round and round and never come to rest ... I'm sure we all feel like that sometimes. However, if the carousel of thoughts never stops spinning, this state can be very mentally stressful and, in the worst case, even make you ill, as a Study from the University of Heidelberg. We'll tell you what you can do about it.

The endless spinning of the thought carousel

Worrying is part of life and is even necessary. Under normal circumstances, worry fulfills an important protective function to prevent you from making the wrong decisions. However, if you can no longer calm down mentally and negative If your thoughts are constantly forcing themselves on you without you being able to stop them, psychologists speak of a thought carousel.

It feels like you've lost control of the brooding. Even if you relax you are no longer able to do so. This can lead to psychosomatic complaints such as headaches, back pain or sleep disorders.

Interesting to know: You're not alone in this mental carousel. Almost one in three Germans state that Feeling to ponder regularly. The topics that cause us the most headaches in this country are as follows current statistics.

What triggers a carousel of thoughts?

The causes of a thought carousel largely result from your personal life situation. Perhaps you keep experiencing situations that touch a sore spot in your life (e.g. in relation to your personality or appearance). Every additional situation that you interpret as unpleasant and negative increases your ruminations.

Or you are worried because there is a crisis in a certain area of your life. This could be problems at work, in your family or in your relationship, for example. Worrying in a crisis situation is of course not pathological. The boundary between normal and pathogenic worrying is controllability! If you can no longer switch off at all, it becomes critical.

Another common train of thought that is often found in brooding personalities is the question: "What if (had been)?" It is not uncommon for the carousel of thoughts to revolve around past events that you have not yet come to terms with. Incidentally, women are much more frequently affected by pathological rumination than men, as recent scientific studies ...that's what I'm talking about.

Stop the carousel of thoughts: First steps

Step 1: Keep a brooding diary

Sometimes worries become more manageable and therefore smaller if you write them down. This gives you an overview of which issues you should tackle first. Writing things down liberates you and also gives you back a sense of control.

Step 2: Breathing exercises

In an acute and stressful brooding situation, breathing exercises can help you to release the tension. This relaxation method is particularly effective before going to bed. The best Breathing and relaxation exercises you can find here.

Step 3: Fixed brooding times

No one will succeed if they resolve to suddenly stop brooding altogether. It is therefore much more effective to schedule fixed brooding times (e.g. in the evening from 7 p.m. to 7.20 p.m.). If stressful thoughts arise during the day, put them off until brooding time.

stop the carousel of thoughts

5 techniques to stop the thought carousel

1. thought stop

A tried and tested method from modern psychology is the thought stop. As soon as stressful thoughts arise, say stop out loud. Saying it out loud is important as it actively interrupts the brooding. You will then find it easier to shift your attention away from your worries.

2. positive affirmations

At positive affirmations are life-affirming statements that can give you courage and strength. It is important that these statements feel right for you. You should not feel like you are lying to yourself. Positive statements for too much brooding could be as follows:

  • "I can handle the situation."
  • "I am strong and competent."
  • "I can control my worries."
  • "I always find a solution."

3. mindfulness meditation

Mindfulness meditation is about observing your feelings and thoughts without judgment. Those who suffer from a constantly spinning carousel of thoughts often try with all their might to suppress the negative thoughts. However, this does not work and only costs valuable energy. Through mindfulness meditation, you learn to accept your feelings and thus solve problems more easily.

4. distraction

Distraction is by no means about suppressing problems. Rather, the aim is to bring about a brief pause for reflection in order to escape the deadlocked spiral of thoughts and then look at the problem again from a fresh perspective. Whether it's a funny movie, a meeting with friends or a shopping trip: whatever helps you is allowed.

5. sport

Physical activity releases happiness hormones and literally makes you feel good. Head free. Don't worry, you don't have to achieve peak athletic performance or train to exhaustion. It is much more important that you enjoy the exercise and feel pleasantly exhausted afterwards.

What helps against a mental merry-go-round? Personal stories and experiences

As mentioned at the beginning, you are not alone with your carousel of thoughts! Especially in a critical situation, it is often very comforting to know that there are other people who have been able to break the vicious circle of brooding. Let yourself be inspired by the experiences of Giulia and Stefan inspire.

In addition to personal stories, encouraging sayings can also be very healing when your thoughts keep spinning. We have summarized the most beautiful thought carousel sayings and quotes for you:

  • "In the long run, the soul takes on the color of your thoughts." - Marcus Aurelius
  • "There are three words that summarize everything I've learned about life: It goes on!" - Robert Frost
  • "Good insights can be gained even from bad prospects." - Ernst Ferstl
  • "Crisis is a productive state. You just have to take away the taste of catastrophe." - M. Frisch
  • "We don't know what other people are thinking or feeling. We interpret their behavior and are then offended by our own thoughts." - Author unknown.

The role of coaching in overcoming a carousel of thoughts

Those who have a strong tendency to brood often find it difficult to break the vicious circle on their own. In this case, a professional Coaching help

Together with the coach, you will shed light on the causes of your thought spirals and uncover negative self-assumptions that encourage brooding. Ultimately, the aim is to develop long-term solution strategies so that you don't fall into the brooding trap again in similar crisis situations.

Strengthening self-confidence: a key to overcoming the carousel of thoughts

A common reason why people brood a lot is that their self-confidence has taken a knock. Anyone who doubts themselves, self-explanatorily questions many things and blames themselves for events that were actually beyond their control.

Conversely, healthy self-confidence helps you to deal with crises in a more positive way. Find out how you can easily boost your self-confidence in our Professional article on the topic.

carousel of thoughts

Long-term solutions: How to stop your thought carousel for good

The main aim of the strategies presented so far is to stop an acute carousel of thoughts. However, if you don't work on the causes of your tendency to brood, you will be tormented by stressful thoughts again in the next difficult situation.

This is the key to overcoming the brooding trap in the long term: analyze why you think so much! Sometimes the causes lie in an overanxious upbringing or unresolved negative experiences. As already mentioned, a coach or therapist can help you with this.

It is also important to acquire strategies that you can use immediately if a carousel of thoughts starts up again. You can use the methods already presented here.

Dealing with setbacks: When the mental carousel returns

Overcoming a strong tendency to brood requires Patience and rarely works overnight. Setbacks are part of the process. In this case, it is important not to despair or even give up, but to learn from the situation: Why did you start brooding again? Looking back, what would have helped you to avoid this? What will you do differently in the next situation?

Finding the path to inner peace and clarity

Stopping the carousel of thoughts in the long term is a process that takes time and practice. However, realize that you are not at the mercy of your negative thoughts. Even if it is difficult, with the right strategies you will succeed in escaping the brooding trap in the long term. Every step brings you closer to your goal. The important thing is to keep at it.


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Reviewed by Dr. med. Stefan Frädrich

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