Mindfulness

What To Do If You Are Having Dark Thoughts

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What to do if you are having dark thoughts is to realize that they will pass of their own accord in time, just like how your pleasant thoughts or neutral thoughts gave way to your current dark state. We can think of thoughts as waves in the ocean or clouds in the sky. As formations they are real and significant but they’re not lasting. What are lasting however are the consequences of the actions prompted by your thoughts.

Thoughts are just thoughts, unless you give them undue power through mechanically transferring those thoughts into some concrete behavior. Dark thoughts tend to lead to destructive behaviors, which is why it’s especially important when caught in the grip of negative thinking, when caught in the grip of the dark thoughts, to consciously shine the light of mindfulness on them.

Acting on the dark thoughts is an unconscious way to try to close the open gestalt, to try to expunge all the discomfort through turning those thoughts into something tangible, which you hope will cleanse your psychic system.

But when you act on your dark thoughts you’re moving in the wrong direction. To cleanse your psychic system you need to be looking inwards, not acting outwards. Dark thoughts are themselves the psyche’s way of trying to turn free-floating anxiety and distress into something more tangible, more understandable. The healthy way to close the open gestalt is not to turn these dark thoughts into action but instead to invite these dark thoughts into your psychic living room so that they can communicate their important underlying message to you. Since we don’t like the dark thoughts we usually seek to banish them outside or back down into the cellar before they can adequately say what they need to say. There’s an unconscious pull to do something, anything, in order to find relief when the correct course of action is actually to do nothing at all except breathe while practicing acceptance and non-judgment.

When observing clouds some are fluffy and harmless looking, others are dark and ominous. But you recognize yourself as the observer, not the clouds, and you know that each cloud’s destiny is to pass across your field of vision on its own time not your time. And you know each cloud will eventually dissipate. You know that the dark skies will eventually part and the sun will break through once again just like you know that the blue skies will eventually be invaded by darkness.

Greetings I'm Michael, the owner of Evolution Counseling and the author of all the articles on this site. I got my master's degree from Seattle University in community mental heath counseling and have committed myself to advancing my knowledge of psychology and my own theoretical system ever since. The content here represents my personal evolution of thought. I've also become a big fan of photography and I take all the pictures you'll see at the top of articles. We don't advertise to get traffic so this site's increasing popularity is grassroots, it's based on you and people like you deciding for yourselves that these articles are a good source for psychological insight and that they're worth sharing with others.