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Exercises to overcome obsessive thoughts

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Concerns and fears are swirling around everywhere in your head. If this sounds like you, then you must know the power of obsessive thoughts. That kind of thoughts that affect us so much due to a pandemic that seems like it is never going to end. However, it is not healthy to live tied to them, now more than ever, we must overcome obsessive thoughts.

Although most of us may experience obsessive thoughts, the problem is that when we consider battling against them, the first idea might be to suppress or eliminate them. This is counterproductive and will not work as well as you hope. They will end up coming back, stronger than they were in the beginning.

 

How do I deal with my obsessive thoughts?

 

To overcome obsessive thoughts effectively, it is better to apply some potential methods to fight them. Social psychologist Daniel Wegner studied and published several tools for this purpose in American Psychologist, which we will talk about below.

Focused distraction

We start with a simple exercise to overcome obsessive thoughts, focused distraction. This consists of disconnecting your mind from the source of concerns by focusing on something else that distracts you. Your mind can select from millions of topics that will help you relieve yourself.

You can also choose to wander and get lost in your sea of thoughts, which is not recommended because it is considered unproductive. The best thing to do then is to focus on doing a household chore, watching an educational TV show, listening to a music, etc. The main idea is to give the mind a goal because minds without goals are often associated with unhappiness.

Postpone for later

A method that remains just as intuitive is to postpone the thought for later. Many studies have proven that suppressing thoughts only causes them to return with more intensity. However, postponing them can be a relief for the mind.

It works like this: set aside a time of the day to give free rein to your obsessive thoughts. This time cannot exceed 30 minutes, but the rest of the day you will need to save all those worries for that limited time. With practice, you will see how this becomes a habit, and you will be able to get rid of the obsessive thoughts whenever you want to do so.

Writing on paper

Writing about anything in your life as a method of liberation gives wonderful results. Therefore, one of the exercises is directly related to fighting against obsessive thoughts and writing.

How does it work? Write openly about your obsessive thoughts, about all those thoughts you have. Include also your deepest feelings, and write, in general, anything you wish to say about the subject.

Getting rid of all that negativity on paper and transporting the thoughts inside your head to reality, to something tangible, will help you feel better. It might even help you not think about them for the rest of the day.

Self-affirmation

We all have good and bad things about us as the imperfect human beings that we are. However, it is a habit for some people to prioritize talking only about the bad things. No one knows our imperfections or weaknesses better than we do, but as an exercise for our well-being, it is advisable to use self-affirmation to overcome obsessive thoughts.

Meditate more often on your positive traits and features. It is something that will help you have better self-control and social confidence. The next time you remember how worried you are about your job, change that thought to a more grateful and optimistic one.

 

More alternatives to know

 

Dwelling on obsessive thoughts can still be fought with other techniques that I consider to be very efficient. The best thing about them is that they are accessible and simple to put into practice with little effort. These are some of my favorites:

  • Christian Meditation: Christian meditation is about focusing on the thought of God and His Word. By meditating, we are expressing a type of prayer, and not only that, but understanding the power behind its lessons. We also learn about the importance of a compassionate and merciful attitude towards our neighbors. “Who do I have in heaven but you? If I am with you, I want nothing more on earth. My body and my spirit may fail, but God strengthens my heart; he is my eternal inheritance” – Psalm 73:25-26.
  • Exercise: When you feel exhausted from so many obsessive thoughts, I suggest you go for a long walk or exercise in whatever way you like. You will be doing your body good, but beyond that, going outdoors will help you appreciate the nuances of life, the beauty of nature, the small miracles that we are not able to see in our routines because we are more focused on negative thoughts.
  • Talk to a friend: We all need to be listened to and having someone close to us listening to our concerns will help both unburden their worries and to get advice from a more objective point of view. We will then be able to organize our ideas in a better way and have a more realistic view of our life.

 

When is it time to seek professional help?

 

As common as obsessive thoughts can be, they may be part of the symptoms of certain mental disorders such as Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

In this particular case, people feel overwhelmed by their thoughts. They have no control over them and the way they relieve themselves is through compulsive actions. For example, washing their hands, counting, cleaning, etc. Obsession and compulsion are related, obviously, but the person will not be able to break it.

Likewise, these thoughts, especially those related to the past and extreme pessimism about the future, are characteristic of Major Depression. There are other disorders are generalized anxiety and post-traumatic stress. Therefore, if one suspects the presence of any of these, the wisest thing to do is to seek professional help.

 

Do you feel you need professional assistance? Call 407 618 0212


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