A "thought spiral" occurs when one concern triggers a chain of negative thoughts that keeps going until you become overwhelmed with anxiety, fear, or stress.
So we asked the BuzzFeed Community and Bufka to tell us their favorite strategies and methods for stopping a thought spiral once it has started.
Of course, everyone is different and these strategies might not work for everyone. If your thought spirals are frequent and debilitating, or they are related to an underlying anxiety or mood disorder, you may need to see a mental health professional to explore different treatment options. But in the meantime, here are some tricks, tips, and hacks you can try the next time you're spiraling.
1. Ask yourself what you would tell a friend who came to you with the same concerns.
2. Start a detail-oriented task, like painting your nails.
3. Create a photo album on your phone of your favorite pictures and memes, and break it out when you feel yourself spiraling.
4. Put on a song that always makes you feel happy or relaxed.
5. Jot down a list of things you are grateful for, or even just good things that have happened to you recently.
6. Scream into a pillow.
7. Write your anxious thoughts down.
8. Ask yourself a few basic questions that can help you calm down and focus on the present.
9. Fill in the pages of a coloring book.
10. Hop on an app, like Headspace or What's Up?. They can help you slow down and focus on the present.
11. Try to sleep it off.
12. Recite a mantra that will actually calm you down.
13. Try working out to get rid of the anxious energy.
14. Do a guided stretch routine.
15. Put an ice pack on the back of your neck or try sticking your face in a bowl of ice water.
16. Use a grounding technique, like counting things around you or noticing how each part of your body feels.
17. Tell your anxiety to shut up, and then change the subject.
18. Pick up a book that you can get lost in.
19. Focus on an object and repeat its name.
20. Start knitting or crocheting.
21. Watch a guided meditation video.
22. Get outside and focus on the ~nature~ around you.
23. Listen to a really awesome podcast.
24. Do a simple breathing exercise.
25. Watch an episode of your favorite "comfort show."
26. If you can, tell a trusted friend or family member about your anxious thoughts.
27. Take a hot shower.
In the long term, you may want to think about if there are any specific situations or people who seem to trigger your spirals, and consider removing yourself from them.
And of course, it's always important to take care of yourself and seek professional help when necessary.
"Make sure you're getting enough sleep, proper nutrition, and exercising regularly — keeping yourself physically and mentally healthy will make you better equipped to deal with spirals when they happen," Bufka says.
And finally, if your thought spirals are debilitating or you are worried about your mental health, you might want to seek help from a professional.
To learn more about anxiety, check out the resources at the National Institute of Mental Health here.
And if you need to talk to someone immediately, you can reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741. Suicide helplines outside the US can be found here.