Obsessive thoughts are detrimental to health and can lead to stress, anxiety and even OCD or obsessive compulsive disorder. Such thoughts tend to overwhelm the mind leading to lack of sleep and a host of health issues. People with obsessive thought patterns often find it very difficult to control them. So today we are going to take a look at some ways to change these patterns and prevent obsession and anxiety.
Table of Contents
1. Identify the degree of obsessive thoughts
In most cases, people tend to worry about the future, money, relationships etc. For example, a man may be worried about his retirement fund, or woman may have a nagging thought that her husband is cheating on her. These thought tend to play over and over in the mind. This is, to an extent, normal and often temporary as the thoughts go away once the person sees things objectively. However, a person who is extremely fearful of germs and diseases indulges in hand-washing 50 times a day is a serious case of OCD or obsessive compulsive behavior. In the first examples, the people are likely to experience worrying thoughts briefly. However, in the second case, the obsessive though pattern could need therapy such as Cognitive Behavior CBT to overcome it. OCD is much more serious for of obsession and is of different types such as hoarding objects, checking things constantly, order and symmetry, cleanliness etc.
2. Divert your mind
In most cases, you can overcome obsessive thoughts by diverting your mind and engaging in activity. Work, study, play or read to stop the thoughts. Develop a passion or a hobby to keep the mind occupied.
3. Just stop!
Each time the thought comes, stop it in its track. Observe the mind and feelings and accept what emotions rise to the surface. Soon you will learn to do this and stop obsessing or worrying.
4. Use positive visualization
Visualize positive things. Imagine yourself being happy and having money, a great job, a beautiful house and a loving relationship. Each time a worrying feeling comes on, imagine the opposite. It may be difficult in the beginning, but with time you will be able to achieve it.
5. Move about
Obsessive thinking is often a result of sitting still or inactivity. So move about! If you are at work, go talk to colleagues or take a short break and walk around. At home, you can engage in some yoga, exercise etc.
Many people find it very hard to meditate but actually it is the best way of stopping obsessive thoughts. You can find many great guided meditation apps, videos and music CDs to ease the practice. It is very important that you do this every day. You can also learn to focus on the breath or do some deep breathing exercises. Relaxation music can also help.
Research has shown that anger is actually a great tool to get rid of obsessive thoughts. You can listen to angry/rock music, shout at the source of your worry (not your boss!) or even get angry with your brain!
8. Accept what has happened
Life is not fair but you have to get rid of old baggage. This is very important to break obsessive thought patterns. You need to use the past as a learning experience and move on.
9. Surround yourself with people who motivate and encourage you
Staying happy is easiest when you have good friends around you. Go out and meet people. This will divert your mind. Use humor to uplift your mind. Keep laughing!
10. Stay mindful
Life is happening at this moment. So stop dwelling on the future or past. Stay in the moment by being mindful of what you are doing. Whether it is making a cup of tea or washing the dishes; give your 100% to the action.
11. Take medicines
In case of obsessive thoughts about death, or hurting self or others, you must seek medical help. CBT or cognitive behavior therapy can help. If not, your doctor might recommend tranquilizers or antidepressants to calm anxiety and increase serotonin levels. However, many of these drugs can give rise to adverse side effects. As an alternative you can try natural remedies like St. John’s Wort to counter anxiety.
12. Join support groups
Many people use support groups as these can help one feel more reassured. Support groups reduce feeling of loneliness and give you a chance to interact and socialize.
Try these easy ways to get rid of obsessive thoughts today!