We think continuously, we are thinking all the time and most of those thoughts go where they came from. Some we remember, others pass by. Some are helpful, others are destructive. And it is precisely those unhelpful thoughts that hurt us that stay. Not only do they stay, but with each passing second they grow larger and larger, enveloping us, convincing us, terrifying us, irritating us, anguishing us. And they don’t leave for hours. They are obsessive or ruminant thoughts, call them what you want, and they are one more face of anxiety. But there will be some way to get rid of those obsessive thoughts, right? We have some strategies that you can put into practice to get rid of them right now. Eat on!
What are obsessive thoughts?
But what are obsessive thoughts. You can know them as obsessive, recurring, intrusive, irrational, compulsive, negative thoughts, but they all make you feel the same. Just as bad suddenly an idea comes to you, which may be related to some characteristic of yours, to health, to work or to. That idea doesn’t go away, it stays in your head and since it scares you, it causes you anguish, more anxiety or it doesn’t fit with what you would like, it gets bigger.
Fear gives importance to obsessive thinking. When gaining importance, it stays in the head, like everything important. And the worst thing is that it doesn’t go away, it doesn’t leave you, and it can even evolve into an even worse thought, more annoying, more terrifying, and more catastrophic. It gets so big that it completely envelops you and you can’t help turning it over and over, you’re ruminating on it now and that feeds the thought.
It is important to learn to relate to your thoughts in a different way if you want to get rid of them. Think, for example, of a fantasy you have. Do you sometimes imagine having wings and flying over the sea? That is also a thought, but in this case you don’t believe it because you know that it is a fantasy, that it is not true and that it is not possible. Why don’t you try doing the same with the rest of your thoughts?
Keep in mind that we have more than 60,000 thoughts a day, which is quite striking. Negative thoughts have their uses, which are to protect ourselves against the dangers of life and analyze threats, but when they come spontaneously at a time when there is no danger or threats, they do not help at all. The same as if they appear on a recurring basis and we cannot stop them. Negative automatic thoughts warn us of threats, and it is conscious thoughts that have to decide whether the threat is real or not. If it is real, we can get down working to analyze it and see what it is informing us of.
In reality, it doesn’t matter if a thought that assails you is true or not, what matters is if it is useful to you or not. And the truth is that if it is an that leads you to ruminate on it for hours and hours and that leaves you in a pitiful state of mind, it is not very useful. What makes that obsessive thought so great is the importance you give it. And if you take away that importance?
10 exercises to get rid of obsessive thoughts
Surely you have already tried trying to forget that obsessive thought that disturbs you and it hasn’t worked, right? That’s because forcing yourself to forget something gets just the opposite effect, making the thought stronger. So you better join your enemy.
We have some strategies to reduce the emotional charge that obsessive thinking produces on you. Maybe not all of them work for you, but surely some do.
1 Accept it
You can start by accepting the obsessive thought. Accept that it is there, that you are thinking about it and try not to judge or value it. Whether it is a true or unreal thought, whether it makes sense or not, whether it or negative, it is just a thought, don’t value it. And above all, don’t judge yourself for having it.
2 Don’t believe that
You don’t have to believe your obsessive thinking. It is true that thoughts arise without you being able to control them, does that because you discomfort? That also has to be accepted, but once the thought arrives, don’t feed it by giving it credibility. We repeat: it is only a thought.
3 Watch it
Try to observe the thought from the outside, as if it were someone else and not you who thought it. That will help you to detach yourself from it, to not give it so much importance and not to identify with it. You can visualize the thought as if it were walking through your mind and at a given moment it goes from there, to another place; send it to a river to flow with the current.
4 Laugh at him
Dare you laugh at your thought? Try it and you will see how it loses intensity. If when you think about it you put shrill voices on it, ridicule it or hum the thought putting the melody of a song on it, you will see how you take it less seriously.
5 Write it
It depends on what situation you are in when the thought strikes you, but a good technique is to write it down. By capturing it in another place, the mind is no longer the main stage of thought and with the mind free of obsession you can work better with thought. If you also read it aloud, perhaps you will be more aware that you are facing such an evil move as a teacher of your anxiety.
6 Limit the time you spend thinking
This exercise is complicated, but you lose nothing by trying it. It is about limiting the time of obsessive thinking or limiting the time for rumination. You can tell your thought that you don’t have time for it now, but that in the middle of the afternoon you will dedicate half an hour to it. And he keeps your word. Spend half an hour dwelling on that thought. If you manage to do it, you will have the feeling of having a little more control over your mind, but we warn you that it requires a lot of practice and that you will not achieve it the first day.
7 Physical exercise
Exercise work for you? As with all anxiety coping strategies, the same things don’t work for everyone. They always recommend going for a walk to forget about obsessive thoughts and free your mind, but you have to admit that it doesn’t work for everyone. In any case, you can do some physical exercise, even if you don’t get rid of your thoughts, which never hurts.
8 Change the thought
Those obsessive thoughts are causing you discomfort that grows every second. And if you choose another main thought that makes you excited? Yes, we are talking about a fantasy, imagine what your ideal house would be like and focus on all the details or maybe you feel like going right now in your imagination to your dream vacation destination.
9 Mindfulness: here and now
The obsessive thought won’t leave you alone because you are paying too much attention to it. Since it’s just a thought, why don’t you focus on something else? We welcome the famous Mindfulness, to focus on the here and now. It is about perceiving the sounds of the street, the smells, or taking a shower focusing your attention on the temperature of the water and on the sensations produced by the water falling on your body.
There is nothing more effective against an obsessive thought than activity. Thinking versus acting, take a good look. There will be something manual that you like to do, from painting mandalas to drawing, knitting or repairing a piece of furniture. Find an activity that motivates you, becausemotivationis a powerful weapon against obsessive thoughts.
Be careful, do not get rid of all your thoughts, thinking and reflecting is also important. In fact it is the only way to solve a problem. Here it is about getting rid of rumination, of the obsession that stays in your mind and blocks without being able to dedicate yourself to anything else. But there is a thought that you should keep in your mind and never forget: we are not what we think, we are what we do. We are not defined by our thoughts, but by our behavior.