Shutting Down the Shame Spiral

In this podcast (episode #440) and blog, I talk about several helpful ways to get out of a shame spiral. 

In our society today, it can be hard to feel any degree of self-worth. We are bombarded with the shame of not living up to our own expectations, or the expectations of others. We cannot live up to the photoshopped and retouched images that seem to tell us that to be happy, we must look, dress or act in a certain way, or get straight As and go to an Ivy League university. We are not able to compete with celebrities and influencers—we are just one social media ‘like’ in a sea of admirers, wishing to be someone or do something. 

It is easy to give in to these voices, listen to them and allow them to take root inside our heads. It is easy to fall into a “shame spiral,” feeling like you will never be able to live up to what society deems as worthy. 

How can we escape this spiral? How can we quit the system and be happy being who we really are at our core? How can we learn to be comfortable with who we are and where we are in life?

  1. Stop comparing your life with others. Although this can be hard, comparison is one of the surest ways to find yourself in a “shame spiral.” It is so important to remember that no two individuals are alike; we all think, feel and choose in different ways. In fact, the law of the brain is diversity—you really can’t be anyone else but yourself. So don’t spend your time trying to be like Albert Einstein, or even Kylie Jenner. You will make a lousy someone else, but a perfect you. When you find yourself comparing your life to others, stop those thoughts in their tracks, and think about what you love to do and what you have to be proud of in your life. Perhaps write your thoughts down in a journal, and remind yourself of them when you are feeling down.
  1. Surround yourself with people that love you. When you feel worthless, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Text or call a loved one, or go for coffee with a friend or family member. Be open and honest about how you feel. Having someone listen and love you is incredibly therapeutic and can help you gain some perspective, allowing you to see how much you have to be happy about, while isolation is incredibly damaging to your mental and physical health
  1. Don’t let thoughts just wander through your mind! Marinating on a toxic thought is one of the biggest predictors of mental ill-health, because whatever you think about the most will grow, affecting what you think, say and do. It is important to remember that thoughts change the structure of our brains, which, in turn, affects how we live our lives. Practice thinking about your thinking, perhaps writing down your thoughts and thinking how you can replace (reconceptualize) a negative thought about yourself with a positive one. For example, if you feel like you are not pretty enough to be loved, write that thought down, and then write down the thought you want to replace this negative opinion about yourself with—perhaps replace this thought with “I have beautiful eyes” or “I really have amazing hair, even my hairdresser said so!”. Do this over three weeks, as it takes a minimum of 21 days to start rewiring a negative thought pattern and replacing it with a more positive mindset. 

For more on exiting the shame spiral, listen to my podcast (episode #440). If you enjoy listening to my podcast, please consider leaving a 5-star review and subscribing. And keep sharing episodes with friends and family and on social media. (Don’t forget to tag me so I can see your posts!).    

You can now also join me on Patreon for exclusive, ad-free content! Sign up for a membership level that suits you, and receive access to ad-free exclusive bonus podcasts. These episodes will include more targeted, step-by-step guides for specific mental health issues AND some fun, more personal podcasts about topics like my favorite skincare products and favorite books, as well as live Q&As, fan polls and requests, and exclusive digital downloads!  

This podcast is sponsored by:

NED’s Shuteye Chai. 70 million Americans have chronic sleep issues and 50% of Americans deal with sleep deprivation. You’ve probably dealt with this at some point in your life and I know how difficult it can be. One of my favorite brands, Ned, is here to help with their incredible new product, Shuteye Chai. It’s inspired by 5,000 years of ancient healing tradition and is Ned’s biggest product launch to date! It’s a Mellö Superblend Latte for Sleep that combines adaptogens, aminos, functional mushrooms, and magnesium – seriously the best ingredients out there – wrapped in a heavenly masala chai-inspired spiced body. Think cinnamon, clove, ginger–all that good stuff! It doesn’t just set you up for amazing sleep. Ingredients like chaga, reishi, and ashwagandha are deeply nourishing to your body, so you’re getting a ton of additional benefits. Discover how Shuteye Chai can revolutionize your sleep and get 15% off with code DRLEAF. Go to or enter code DRLEAF at checkout.

ELO Health. If you’re hearing this, you’ve probably taken supplements at some point in your life. You’re probably taking them right now. We all know that our bodies need them but you’ve never been able to identify EXACTLY what your body needs. This is why I love Elo, which uses a combination of at-home blood biomarker testing, Apple Health data, and Dietitian support to determine exactly the right supplements just for you, and delivers them every month to your door in convenient daily packets. They take the guesswork out of finding the right supplements by taking into account your blood biomarker values, health history, and wellness goals to determine the optimal supplement formulation just for you. It’s time to start taking supplements that are tailored to YOU. Get your FREE blood biomarker test (a $200 value) by going to and entering code DRLEAF.

Chime. What’s the first thing you do when you wake up? Is it checking up on your credit score? Didn’t think so… At Chime, that’s exactly what they do. With their secured Chime Credit Builder Visa Credit Card, you can start to build credit with your own money. Chime reports your payments to credit bureaus to help you build credit over time. Their members see an increase of 30 points on average. All of this with no annual fees, large security deposits, or credit checks to apply! So start your credit journey with Chime. Sign up takes only two minutes and doesn’t affect your credit score. Get started at The Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card is issued by Stride Bank, N.A. pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Chime Checking Account and $200 qualifying direct deposit required to apply for the secured Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card. Regular on-time payment history can have a positive impact on your credit score. Impact to score may vary, and some users’ scores may not improve. Out-of-network ATM withdrawal fees may apply except at MoneyPass ATMs in a 7-Eleven, or any Allpoint or Visa Plus Alliance ATM. 

Podcast Highlights

1:25 How low self-esteem & shame are connected

1:40 What shame is  

2:15 The difference between shame & guilt

3:30, 9:05 The shame spiral

6:20 Shame & the mind-brain connection

9:30 How easy it is to feel shame

12:25, 18:27, 28:00 How to exit the shame spiral

24:15 Don’t let negative thoughts just wander through your mind!

26:00 How to “edit” your shame thoughts

This podcast and blog are for educational purposes only and are not intended as medical advice. We always encourage each person to make the decision that seems best for their situation with the guidance of a medical professional. 

Comments 0

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published