How to stop spiralling negative thinking

In 1964, when John Lennon plucked a single guitar note at the beginning of The Beatles’ ‘I Feel Fine’, its sound issued from a loudspeaker where it was picked up once again by the guitar and returned to the speaker.

Round and round went the sound, causing distinctive ‘feedback’, the first time this phenomenon appeared on a commercial recording.

Thanks to producer George Martin, Lennon’s feedback was musical and under control.


But that’s not always the case.

I’m sure we’ve all experienced the ear-splitting howl that results from a public address system whose volume is turned up to 11.

Now and then, a similar kind of behaviour can be exhibited by our thinking.

Thoughts go round and round, becoming amplified in the process.

If George Martin was at your controls, only the good stuff would be allowed in, and these circular thoughts would make you feel, well, fine.

In fact it’s you at the controls, of course, and if you’re anything like me, it may be the negative ideas that seem to resonate most.

An anxious view, a worried thought, can remain cascading with you for days if you’re not careful.

So quite simply, don’t let it.

Just as shielding a microphone, or turning the volume down, can prevent audio feedback, so you can deliberately tell yourself to Stop thinking those thoughts.

Nobody can tell you what to think.

But you can.

3 thoughts on “How to stop spiralling negative thinking

  1. The most important thing for me is to recognise and accept the negative thoughts then learn to let them come then go, do not try and fight them as this only gives them more presence and power

  2. I agree with Janis, I find acceptance of these negative thoughts can be very helpful in easing the suffering they can cause to myself and those closest to me. Mindfulness is very helpful and recognising that every thought is just a mental event not a solid or factual thing. Thanks Jon for your insights.

  3. Yes. It is important to acknowledge an unwanted thought and not try to “stop” them because it just magnifies them and keeps them going. Non attachment , mindfulness are key to any negative thought or feeling. Thoughts are translucent. Just because we think it doesn’t mean it is true. Feelings are transitory. Jon this is a great topic thanks.

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