3 strategies to manage obsessive thoughts

3 strategies to manage obsessive thoughts

Managing obsessive thoughts is a daunting task. This requires enormous will and discipline. It is an unending struggle against our own mental resources, often unconscious. Moreover, only those who are victims of such ideas know how difficult it can be to turn away from them. Part of us wants to leave the enclosure, another part fiercely fight so that everything remains the same.

To manage obsessive thoughts, the first step is to understand what it is. Are named after these intrusive ideas that tend to settle in the mind and, in many cases, become recurrent. They present themselves to us involuntarily. They simply arrive, cut off other threads of thought and we can not get rid of them. Their content is usually intimidating. They speak of catastrophes and suffering. They generate fear.

Behind many of these ideas, there are unresolved conflicts, almost always linked to an unconscious mistake or, in any case, that has not been confronted. The recurring idea is a form of punishment for something that has been done and is considered very reprehensible. However, this something escapes consciousness. Anyway, it is possible to manage obsessive thoughts so that they lose power. There are three strategies to achieve this.

"Passion is a positive obsession, obsession is a negative passion."
-Paul Carvel-

1. The metaphor of quicksand

A good way to handle obsessive thoughts is to see them as if they were a quicksand trap. Imagine someone falling into a place like this. His instinct will lead him to want to get out of there as soon as possible. However, if he tries to move, advancing one of his legs, the only thing he will manage to do is to sink even more.

The same goes for obsessive thoughts. From this quicksand trap, one can only go out if the person is calm and agrees to be in an area where each movement must be calculated. If you try to lie down and float, quietly, it is very likely that gradually you reach the shore.

In our case, it is better to do the same thing. Do not fight directly against obsessive thoughts. We must not resist. Give your obsessive thought 15 or 20 minutes of your time. Let it be there, observe it, detail all its contents. After that time, try to focus on something else for 15 or 20 minutes. Repeat the cycle until you feel better.


2. Maintain emotions, a way to manage obsessive thoughts

If you want to properly manage your obsessive thoughts, make an effort to maintain your emotions. Accept that you feel emotional for a moment. If you admit to experiencing these emotions, especially anxiety, they will gradually fade away.

Let them sink to the end. These types of emotions are exhausted if you do not interfere. To understand it better, it's as if you had a grain or a mosquito bite that stings you a lot. You feel it, but you decide not to scratch. Of course, it's very irritating, but it ends up happening.

The discomfort will increase to a certain point. Then he will begin to fade. The key is not to try to relieve yourself directly by scratching yourself. The same must be done with anxiety or any other negative emotion that accompanies obsessive thinking.


3. Recommended exercises

Remember that your goal is to manage obsessive thoughts, not to prevent them from appearing. Obsessions can not be controlled with the mind, just like that. They require a deeper and broader process, usually through psychotherapy. That said, there are also some small exercises that can help you:

  • Talk about your obsession aloud for a minute. Do not talk to your obsession, talk about it. You should do it as fast as possible. It does not matter if you do not make a coherent speech. Coherence does not matter. In fact, you can only say one or a few words. For example, if you are obsessed with thieves entering your home, repeat "thieves-enter-thieves-enter" quickly and continuously for a minute.
  • Sing your obsession. Find a melody that you like and try to introduce a new word that talks about your obsession. Whenever these intrusive ideas come to your mind, start singing. Change the word and lyrics whenever you want.
  • Draw your obsessions. Give them shape. Invent characters if necessary.Do not do any drawing at short notice, but as best as you can. Fill it with colors, ornaments, anything you can imagine.

As we have said from the beginning, managing obsessive thoughts is not easy. But if the strategies to achieve it are applied assiduously, it is certainly possible to minimize the effects and the frequency. To banish them, you will need therapeutic help. Do not hesitate to call on it.

Learned helplessness ends with our desires to fight

Learned helplessness is the psychological concept that leads people to ask "why act, if things should be like this?" Learn more
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