Overcoming Obsessive Thinking
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Obsessive thinking is something more than simply having a thought. Instead, for most people, it takes over their lives. Obsessive thinking is exactly as its name suggests and it is constant.
Are obsessive thoughts normal?
Have you found yourself stuck thinking the same thing over and over? Sometimes obsessive thinking is about disturbing images and thoughts. It isn’t clear why some people suffer from this type of mental health issue, but it is more prevalent in our society than you might think. This issue is also known as Obsessive Compulsive-Disorder (OCD), and it tends to spillover into unstoppable or compulsive urges too.
Common examples of obsessive thinking often revolve around serious and harmful events. For example, if you’re on your way to work and can’t stop thinking, “Did I turn off the stove? What if my house goes up in flames because I left the stove on?” If you have this thought on a daily basis, you may be experiencing obsessive thinking.
How do I know when my thoughts are okay and when they are out of control?
Bad or dark thoughts occur in everyone's minds. Yet, sometimes it gets to a stage where this is your everyday experience and is impacting your life in a big way. The thoughts can intensify and consume your focus. This is when you need to reach out for help. Some thoughts are so disturbing that most people refrain from talking about it, but this is not a healthy coping option.
Should I ignore it?
Many people try to push these thoughts out of their mind, hoping that they will go away.
However, ignoring your obsessive thinking will not make it stop. For many people who try ignoring their obsessive thoughts, the thoughts often become stronger and linger for a long period of time. Addressing the problem head on will provide the best outcome in the long run.
What should I do next?
For some people meditation is a wonderful way to regain control. This is especially beneficial over feelings of anxiety, stress, and depression. Those are often key factors that lead to obsessive thinking. You're not in control of the thoughts that happen at random. However, controlling the way you feel when they happen is possible. Stay calm.
Try deep breathing and exercise
Just like meditation, breathing exercises and physical workouts may help. Thus it changes your focus. When you’re "physically" preoccupied, it gives less chance for intrusive thoughts to take over.
Write your thoughts down or say them outloud
Making your thoughts more tangible can help you realize they are unrealistic and overemphasized. Doing this can increase your ability to identify an obsessive thought and fight back.
Talk to a therapist
If you’re in Colorado, Arizona, or Texas, you can go to sondermind.com to match with a therapist who specializes in helping those with obsessive behavior. If you’re elsewhere, check out Psychology Today or call the number on the back of your insurance card to get a list of mental health professionals near you.