Obsessional Thinking 

 May 6, 2022

By Dr. Sandy

Obsessional Thinking

By Dr. Sandy

May 6, 2022

In observance of the month of April as Mental Health Month, I feel that in such critical times of mental struggles and life-controlling issues across the globe, I believe that we should consider EVERY DAY instead of an annual awareness MONTH to gain knowledge about mental health matters.

In case you are not sure about what “Mind Over Matters” means, let me briefly explain. Obsessive thinking is a series of thoughts that typically recur, often paired with negative self-judgments. Many times, there is an inability to control these persistent, distressing thoughts and the severity can range from mild but annoying, to all-encompassing and debilitating. I will share a brief self-help list of how to STOP Obsessional Thinking. Intrusive thoughts are thoughts that seem to become stuck in your mind. They can cause distress since the nature of the thought might be upsetting. They may also reoccur frequently, which can make the concern worse. Intrusive thoughts may be violent or disturbing. They may be thoughts of a sexual nature, including fantasies. They can also be about behaviors you find unacceptable and abhorrent.

These thoughts, however, are just thoughts. They can suddenly appear out of nowhere and cause anxiety, but they have no meaning in your life. They’re not warning messages or red flags. They’re simply thoughts. However, how we perceive our thoughts can become habitual and/or cause us to act out what we are thinking.

The Bible tells us in Philippians 4:8, Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Our thoughts can shape our lives for the good and the bad. Yes, even mentally break (become destructive) in our minds.

The matter that becomes destructive in our minds is this……what gives them power is that those who experience them become worried about their significance. People may fixate on them and become ashamed, intent on keeping them secret from others. If you recognize that these are thoughts only and you have no desire to act on them, intrusive thoughts aren’t harmful. Eventually, you’ll realize that the obsessive thought is coming from worry about the future or past and is not rooted. Process your self-assessment through the 5-Tips to STOP Obsessive Thinking below.

5 Tips to Stop Obsessive Thinking

1. Work on Self-Awareness
The first step in changing any behavior is becoming conscious of it when it’s coming up.

2. Name “IT” (the matter)
When we are caught in the cycle of rumination, generally there is an underlying fear that something bad is going to happen.

3. Acceptance
Pause for a moment and identify the source of your worries. A lot of them probably have to do with future projections or past hurts, mistakes, or regrets. Try to accept your situation as it is right now.

4. Practice Mindfulness
We spend so much time dwelling on past mistakes or worrying about future events that we rarely spend time in the here and now. The practice of mindfulness can help us reduce our “thinking” and increase our “sensing.”

5. Schedule a “Worry Break”
Oftentimes people struggle with insomnia because of worry. Most who struggle with obsessional thinking, have thoughts that bounce all over the place at bedtime: relationships, body image, career, finances, the future, fear of failure, fear of confrontation, or fear of being exposed to some life-controlling matter. It keeps the person feeling exhausted and it keeps them awake and anxious.

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