How to Stop Obsessive Thoughts

How to Stop Obsessive Thoughts

Last update: 29 May, 2017

As the rational beings we are, thinking is an activity that comes to us naturally. Our t houghts can be our best friends, but they can also be our worst enemies. Whether they become problematic or not depends on how aware we are of them and how we reason with them.

If we think of thought as the act of reasoning, understanding, and imagining in a way that helps us make decisions and carry out actions, we can conclude that it has a lot of power, as much as we want to grant it. But remember that thought isn’t stable, and it doesn’t always have to be rational or make sense.

Giving your thoughts too much weight in certain situations can be more harmful than helpful, which is why it’s important to be aware and open your mind to other things that might be influencing your thoughts, such as your emotional state, past experiences, or other individual circumstances like the consumption of alcohol.

There are many factors that constantly interact with your thoughts, and being aware of them will prevent you from slaving and obsessing over them.

When thoughts create anxiety

In certain situations, it feels like you can’t stop thinking, like the same thoughts keep running through your mind. Obsessing over the same thing can take up most of your time and brainpower. Being preoccupied with something, anticipating a negative situation, and remembering past events can all open the door to anxiety.

hand pushing girl

This anxiety can make it feel like you’re losing control. You feel dominated by the uncertainty of something that hasn’t happened yet but is looming over you. When you don’t stay focused on the present, you feel lost, disoriented, and distracted from what’s happening right now.

Trying to find an explanation for everything around you can also lead to anxiety. Some people are more prone to preoccupation and trying to find explanations for everything that happens. These people have to make a great effort to keep calm and stay in the moment.

Focusing on the present moment

When your thoughts provoke anxiety, the best thing to do is try to focus all of your attention on the present moment. When you’re more in the moment, you can take control over your thoughts and focus on the experience at hand. That way, you can be more aware of your surroundings and make sense of everything in a different way.

When your thoughts pile up and you get overwhelmed with preoccupation, a good exercise is to write down and organize these ideas, and then save whatever you’ve written so that you can find solutions as new thoughts emerge. That way you’re doing something with the thoughts that torment you and turning them into decisions and solutions.

Understanding and accepting your way of thinking will prevent you from feeling desperate and victimized. When you understand that your thoughts are a part of you and that you can use them to your benefit, you’ll stop entering into conflict with them, which is really a conflict with yourself.

I am not what I think, but what I think forms a part of me, and I have the power to guide my thoughts in a better direction.

Control your thoughts

Recognize that you are not what you think, but rather, your thoughts form a part of you. This is a better way to understand the nature of thought. They form a part of you and your experiences, and they’re influenced by your attitude and the way you see things. Therefore, constantly complaining about what you think is just a form of running away from yourself.

person in cage

You can control what you think, especially with practice and concentration. You can guide your thoughts in a better direction, or you can remain anchored to the same way of thinking, letting yourself be controlled by the world of possibilities that haven’t even happened yet.

Your attitude determines how you think and act. You can remain stuck in a world of endless options, or you can propose a strategy to let one of those possibilities take shape by making a decision.

Even though thinking is automatic, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have an active attitude towards it. If you remain seated as a spectator of your thoughts, you’ll assume that it’s impossible to control them, and this is how they end up dominating you.

If you tell yourself that you control what you think, you’re already taking a more active and beneficial attitude towards your thoughts.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.