How to Overcome Obsessive Thinking
Is obsessive thinking taking control of your life? Someone who suffers from obsessive thoughts often is not able to control their thoughts and the toll that this type of thinking can have on their energy, mental and physical health, and their relationships with others can be devastating. Unfortunately, few of us mentally obsess over “good” things. Often the things we dwell on the most tend to be negative things, like an ex boyfriend or girlfriend, weight or appearance, finances, or even work. Even having a constant, negative attitude can be a form of obsession. Whatever you obsess over, the truth is that it can put your life on hold—and with one life to live, who can afford that?
What is Obsessive Thinking?
Obsessive thinking comes in many forms, often developing into an obsessive-compulsive disorder. For instance, have you ever left the house and wondered whether you remembered to lock the door? Has the worry ever become so overwhelming that you simply had to return home to put your mind at ease? This type of obsessive thinking could easily develop into a disorder of varying degrees of severity. An example of a severe obsessive disorder, in this case, would be if one were to limit their outings simply from the fear that they will forget to lock the door, unplug a curling iron, or turn the oven off.
Although the most common cases of obsessive thinking tend to be about worrisome thoughts, that isn’t always the case. Some experience continuous thoughts about religious issues—such as obsessing over “sins” or the spiritual situation of others, and believe it or not, it isn’t uncommon for people to harbor unwelcome or sickening sexual thoughts which usually crop up at inappropriate and frequent times. Whatever the obsession is, it usually becomes such an intrusive aspect in a person’s life that they become anxious and eventually begin to live their life around these thoughts.
What Causes this Condition?
In most cases, the cause of this condition is not known. While everyone gets unwelcome and wacky thoughts once in a while, it isn’t always clear why for some people these disturbing thoughts become repetitive and “stick” in their mind. A typical person might simply think, “Hmm…that’s a weird thought.” Someone suffering from an obsessive disorder would try to analyze the thought and determine why the thought occurred. This spurs a need that results in frequent reoccurrence of the thought. Most of the thoughts are unexplainable, although in some instances the thoughts could be caused by a traumatic incident in one’s past. For instance, someone who once lost their house in a fire may have constant worries that their current home will burn down if they leave it.
Can Obsessive Thinking be Treated?
Unfortunately, treating this condition is much more difficult than simply not thinking certain thoughts. Sometimes certain things can trigger such thoughts, and other times they occur for no apparent reason. It is recommended that someone who harbors obsessive thoughts seeks the advice of a professional in the psychological field, preferably one who has experience dealing with obsessive disorders. It is very important for the patient to understand that everyone has unexpected and unwanted thoughts sometimes. Simply hearing this from a professional can be reassuring to the patient.
If you want to try to rid yourself of these thoughts without the help of a doctor, there are a few things you can try on your own. One technique that has shown quite good results is to NOT attempt to force the thoughts from your head. Any time the thoughts occur, you should simply allow them to pass naturally. This can be done by simply relaxing the mind and letting thoughts run as they will. Eventually something else will catch your attention and your concentration and before you know it, the negative thoughts will have passed.
Other forms of self-help revolve around assuring yourself that you would never carry out the things you think about (if applicable) or to take measures that will reassure yourself that everything is okay. For instance, if you are indeed afraid of forgetting to turn off the coffee pot or another appliance, you might take the time to create a calendar that can be used daily to signify that the appliance was turned off. You could also attempt to view the thoughts in your head as an annoying voice. Normally when we hear something that annoys us, we turn down the volume or ignore it. The same sort of principle applies to this form of treatment.