5 Ways to Stop Skid Row Thinking

If you have seen the movie ,Little Shop of Horrors, you are familiar with the “Skid Row (Downtown)”song lyrics. For those that have never seen this movie, Skid Row referred to an impoverished lifestyle. The people felt trapped downtown and gave up on the life they wanted. But seriously if you have not seen this movie, you have to see this movie.

Anywho, ironically the portion of the Skid Row song that resonates with me is,

“ Show me how and I’ll get outta here, Someone tell me I still could get outta here.”

Have you felt like that at any time in your life? I know I have. It wasn’t that I was speaking about a physical place more so a mental one. Sometimes it was scarier inside my head than outside of it. I mean a serious freak show.

Source: giphy.com

My mind would intensify a situation to the millionth power to the point of my thoughts consuming me. The larger I mentally made a situation the more my Audrey II (man-eating plant. c’mon you got to see this movie) brain was demanding to be fed. It was like feed me more delusional thoughts, feed me more self-defeating thoughts, feed me the impression of no one caring for me. My mind just became greedy for negativity.

giphy.com (This is Audrey II by the way)


I would say I felt. Just going down skid row in my mind. Just begging to get out of there. This state of mind can so easily bleed into the fleshly part. Meaning I shut myself out and stayed to myself in fear of no one accepting me. I knew I was different but who cares about different, looks like everyone enjoys being the same, I thought to myself.

But this post is not to detail my crazy thoughts but to speak to a person currently feeling like this to help them simply get out of their head. It is not an overnight thing and takes consistent effort but I guarantee “you can get outta there”. I wanted to share 5 simple things I did to leave my mental skid row.

Five Ways Out of Skid Row Thinking

1. Exercise

I know you are like, what? Who wants to do this when they are being terrorized in their head. But to be honest exercising helps clear your head and redirect your thoughts in a positive direction. According to an article in warriormindcoach.com, “Increased levels of exercise lead to improvements in body image and high confidence.” The article described how exercise leads to interacting with others which leads me to the next subject.

2. Socializing

This may seem like an obvious one but when one is depressed and feeling alone it is not so obvious. Most depressed people run and hide. When depressed, your mind may tell you that no one loves you and no cares. These thoughts along with other exaggerated thoughts can lead to cognitive distortions. In layman’s term it grows an ant hill to a mountain. Cognitive distortions make you feel like your insecurities are shown to everyone when in fact no one was paying attention to them.

When you are occupying your mind by calling a friend or hanging with family, you will not even entertain these giant thoughts. Surrounding yourself with people that love you can help minimize these thoughts and remind you on how much you are loved. It will help you see how important you are to others.

Source: sheliamcintyre.com

3. Self-Actualizing Excercises

Self-Actualizing is maximizing the best of you. Best of you includes your personal growth and accentuating all you are possible of. This is good to conquer those “I am not good at anything” thoughts. This reminds you of your talents. I use the word remind, because when we were at a happier state we did things we enjoyed. Most of the things we enjoyed doing were the things we are good at. When my mind first decluttered, I had to ask myself what brings me the most joy? Writing was one them. I never thought of being a writer and I still don’t. This blog helps me do something I enjoy with the hopes of helping someone else. I chose to maximize my potential talent of writing and start a blog. And I love and appreciate everyone who reads my thoughts. Back to the subject, I found a great article exhibiting some great self-actualizing exercises. Click here to view the article.

4. Give Back

Giving to others less fortunate than us helps reminds us that someone else may be in a worse situation. This is not in a “my life is better than yours” sense. It is putting things in perspective. You may be fighting with a landlord but there are some that don’t have a residence. You may fight with your parents but there are some that wish they had parents to fight with. A bad situation is the worse in the world to you because it’s your situation. But when we step outside of our situation and view someone else’s it helps us to focus on someone else. This is a good way to get outside of our heads and be of help to someone else. Just writing this blog is an example of leaving my situation to help someone that may be in worse shape. I feel that if each one reach one the world could be happier. Just reaching out to someone could change their life and their perspective. The world needs love so why not give it.

5. Keep a Journal

Journaling is great therapy! It helps you to spill all the self-defeating thoughts on paper. Sometimes when my head is full I just type away and then re-read the words just to see how crazy it sounds. For instance, if someone is having a bad day and they are more quiet than usual, I would write how I feel ignored and how no one cares about me and I am always ignored. After reading that I laugh…am I really ignored by everyone. A good word for thought is any sentence starting with “everyone” and “no one” is the start of unrealistic thinking. It is impossible for everyone to hate you or for no one to care. There is someone out there that is concerned and the only way we can see it is if we leave “Nobody” lane and realize someone out there cares about you and is rooting for you.

These five suggestions may seem simple but they have  tremendously helped me get out of my head. It does not happen over night but overtime these methods can help you conquer skid row thinking.

What are some ways you fight off negative thoughts?

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