Break the cycle of harmful thoughts – you will get protection from anxiety

It is human and normal for unpleasant thoughts to start running around in our mind if we experience a big insult or failure. However, sometimes negative thoughts keep repeating themselves.

– Then there is often a tendency to depression or anxiety in the background. A person becomes sensitive to his own mistakes, remembers failures and fears the future, describes the professor emeritus of psychology Markku Ojanen.

You can break the cycle of harmful thoughts, although it is not always easy.

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One is helped by accepting one’s own thoughts and feelings, another by challenging them.

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You can also actively look for solutions to things that bother you.

– In addition, you should talk about difficult thoughts with trusted friends. If that doesn’t help either and the thoughts are very consuming, it’s only natural to seek therapy, Ojanen encourages.

The origin of thoughts is a great mystery

It is still a mystery how thoughts actually arise in our brain.

Although a lot is known about both the brain and thinking based on research, science has not been able to fully explain their connection.

Thinking can be extremely diverse: past, present, future, possible, impossible, ideas and delusions.

– How on earth could something so wonderful and timeless have been born from matter? There is no thinking without the brain, but the brain does not think alone, but we humans do, Ojanen reflects.

Good deeds lead to positive thoughts

You can’t completely control your own thoughts, but you can try to control them.

When you find yourself wallowing in negative thoughts, you can distract yourself by doing something completely different.

  • Go for a walk,
  • put your mood music on or
  • go to a sauna or a warm shower.

Soon you will notice that your mood will improve and you will be able to get rid of the sad thoughts running through your head.

Positive actions also change thoughts.

Just thinking positive thoughts is not enough, you should put your thinking into action.

If you think that someone is a very difficult person, try being kind to them. You might soon find out that he wasn’t so bad after all.

– Be kind to others, thank more, ask and forgive. These are instructions that have been proven to increase our well-being, Ojanen sums up.◆


  1. ACCEPT YOUR FEELINGS Thoughts are not facts, but events within the mind that are strongly associated with emotions. For example, the thought “I’m useless” produces a feeling of hopelessness, which feeds thoughts corresponding to the feeling, such as “it’s not worth even trying”. When you recognize and accept your own feelings, it can help you distance yourself from the thoughts that maintain the negative cycle.
  2. AVOIDANCE DOESN’T HELP The human mind is inclined to think about the very things that we forbid ourselves to think about. Try not to think about the pink elephant. What did you just think? Well, a pink elephant!
  3. CHALLENGE YOUR POINT OF VIEW When the mind is down, the call to think positively only irritates. However, you can challenge your own thoughts: Is it really a disaster if the things you fear happen? Is it really true that no one cares about you?
  4. THE OPTIMIST DOESN’T DISAPPOINT The brighter you see the future, the less burdensome everyday adversities are. Optimism and pessimism are quite permanent qualities, but a more positive attitude can also be practiced. You can start, for example, by thinking about what kind of difficult things you have already overcome.

Expert: Markku Ojanen, professor emeritus of psychology, University of Tampere.

This article has appeared in Hyvä tervey magazine. As a subscriber, you can read all issues free of charge from the service

Source: Hyvä Terveys by

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