Updated: Mar 7
Negative thoughts and stress are something that most people are dealing with while having post-concussion syndrome. Sometimes, you are really stuck in your head, and it feels like you’ll never get out of this negative spiral. I tried to figure out what process worked best for my concussion healing journey and would love to share it with you!
Did you know that we have around 20,000 thoughts every day? The trouble is, when all your thoughts take over your mind, your negative thoughts can interfere with everyday activities, interrupt sleep, and prevent us from healing. This is common with anxiety, and that’s why I want you to share the 6 steps that could help you start letting go of those negative thoughts:
1. Take a step back
First of all, remember that your thoughts are not your thoughts; you are just holding on to them right now. I find it helpful to name my negative thoughts. Every time a negative thought comes up, I say: Oh, hi Baddy (yes, that's what I called him), what do you have for me today? Your thoughts are the passenger, not the driver. No matter how difficult they feel, keep in mind they are always temporary. I’ve always had thoughts like: my post-concussion syndrome will stay this bad forever, or I am not able to move forward in my concussion healing journey.
2. Acknowledge your thought
You can try to ignore your thoughts, but I promise they will keep hounding you until you give them your attention. Your thoughts are always trying to convince you to tune in. So be aware of it, listen to what they have to say and do not ignore them or try to push them away. I always try to find a quiet place, and I close my eyes to clear my head. If this doesn’t work for you, you can also go for a walk, do some journaling or just do what feels good for you and makes you able to acknowledge your thoughts.
3. Recognize the emotion it provokes in you
I love the saying: If you don’t feel it, you don’t heal it. It’s so true! So after you acknowledge your thought, try to notice how you feel while you have this thought. I see negative thoughts as an invitation to explore something. Try to tune in on every thought, say how you feel about that thought, and take 10 deep breaths to calm down that thought. After I do this, I always thank that thought, so I don’t see it as a negative thing anymore.
4. Find the evidence that your thought is just a thought and isn’t the truth
Sometimes, I have a hard time feeling that thoughts aren’t the truth. So I am looking for evidence. Ask yourself: Can I know that my thought is true? 80% of our thoughts are based on fear and aren’t happening in real life. So if you don’t have evidence that your thought is true or going to be true, it’s just a thought!
5. Release old, unsupportive negative thoughts
If I can’t find any evidence that my negative thought is a fact, I know I have to release that thought. So, for example, I had the thought: My post-concussion syndrome will not improve. I couldn’t find any evidence for it, so it felt like I needed to release this thought.
The way I try to release my negative thoughts is by asking myself those questions: - How do I react? What happens when I believe that negative thought? I would be sad, frustrated that my post-concussion syndrome will not improve, right? Why feel sad when you don’t even know if it’s true? - How would I feel without that thought? Without having that thought, I would be more motivated to find ways to heal my post-concussion syndrome. So I can move forward more easily.
6. Create a new, positive thought instead
After I went through those steps, I tried to think of something positive. This can be everything! A friend who will visit me that day, a lovely meal, the sun is shining or something you look forward to. Going through those 6 steps really helps me let go of a negative thought and had a positive effect on my concussion healing journey. I know it’s not always easy, and I’d be lying if it worked all the time, but please try it when you’re feeling stuck. Releasing negativity will help to move forward.
I believe that every thought is a seed planted. What seeds are you planting?
During my concussion journey, I felt so lost and lonely.
I was feeling restless all the time. Doctors weren’t able to help me so I was feeling stuck. 🤦🏽♀️
My setbacks were the worst things ever and I didn’t know how to deal with them or prevent them. My days felt more like surviving than enjoying and I was always looking for a balance between rest and doing things.
Thankfully, I'm feeling much better now with the help of professionals who GET it and because of all tips and support from others in the same situation.
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