October 29, 2020

How to Recover from a Shame Spiral.

I’m not good enough.

I’m not worthy.

I’m worthless.

I’m unworthy.

I’m dirty.

I’m not tall enough.

I’m not skinny enough.

I’m not pretty enough.

My house isn’t big enough.

My house isn’t clean enough.

My house isn’t perfect enough.

I’m not smart enough.

I need to get my hair colored/cut/nails done.

I have nothing to wear.

My car is not nice enough.

I don’t have enough people in my life who love me.

I’m out of control.

I’m having obsessive thoughts.

I’m not a good worker.

I need more (fill in the blank).

These are the familiar feelings I would have that would create a deep, dark feeling in me that would have me running to the nearest Nordstrom Rack or a restaurant to numb out.

In the past, I was seeking something outside of myself to soothe my restless heart and the gaping hole inside. I have learned that nothing outside of myself or any material possession will bring me to a permanent place of contentment. I must go within. I must feel, and release. I must let go. No more masking strong emotions. Emotions are okay to have; it is normal to feel. What has become abnormal is eating, drinking, and shopping them away.

I want to share some tools I have learned over the years to guide me in a healthier way back to my inner zen.


Remind yourself you are safe.

Remind yourself you are loved.

Reach your arms up overhead.

Reach your arms down to the ground.

Take off your shoes and let your feet feel the Earth.

Pray to a higher power.

Journal your thoughts and feelings (all of them), even the icky ones.

Take a nice bath.

Feel your feelings—ask yourself where they may be stemming from. Did an incident happen where you felt unworthy, not good enough? Did you make a mistake in front of a colleague, or forget to pack lunch for your child? Did you miss a deadline? Were you late?

Are you comparing yourself to someone who you feel is “better than you?”

Check your Instagram feed. Are you being bombarded with body images and homes that are perfect?

Remember that social media is a mirage. The images you see are only that. It is not reality.

Breathe deeply again. Feel it in your core. Watch your belly rise and fall.

Remind yourself of how far you have come.

Check in with a friend, family member, therapist, sponsor: tell them everything you are thinking and hearing your brain say to you.

Release it and let go.

Ask the God of your understanding to fill you with infinite peace.

Drink water.

Take a walk. Get some fresh air. Admire the beauty where you can find it.

Any type of exercise helps me immensely. My go-to is 30 minutes on a bike or elliptical to release that pent up emotion.

Try a meditation app. I’ve written about it here: Do we Really Need another App to be Mindful?

Listen to binaural beats (this is new to me and something I have just started incorporating).

Try a yoga app like Down Dog for a quick yoga flow.

Ask yourself what you need to prioritize in your current state: self-care, saying no, delegating, asking for help, emptying your plate. Are you taking on too much? Saying yes when your body and mind say no?

I would love to hear about people making a commitment to walking and feeling their way through strong emotions—working through versus running and avoiding. Please feel free to leave a comment about strategies and tools that have worked for you. I believe this is essential to healing deep shame and childhood trauma but would love to hear other opinions and ideas as well.



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