It appears, through exhaustive research, there are exactly two techniques I can successfully use to get out of a negative mental loop. The first is to go climbing, which works for the obvious reason of that perfect mix of adrenaline, endorphins, and fun. The second is to do something in a foreign language.
My hypothesis about the foreign language one is that while participating in a conversation in say, Arabic, I have to be fully focused. I can’t run multiple streams of thought and still understand what is going on. So it automatically puts me into the present moment and shuts off worry threads, all without any specific effort on my part.
Worry threads are just old thoughts. They are a constant revision of old thoughts, making that comfortable thought groove even deeper.
I started asking myself recently what could I do, that is within my complete control and ability, that would make the most difference in my life. The answer, which really I didn’t come up with on my own but copied from Naval Ravikant, the guest of this podcast, is to approach everything that happens with a positive and optimistic set of thoughts.
Which basically means, for me, coming up with a totally new set of thought patterns. No more repetitive thoughts. Optimistic, positive thoughts only please. Ask good questions, then ask better questions. Make new thoughts.