Obsessive thoughts and Anxiety affect 1 in 50 people. This is one of the most hidden psychological problems for those who suffer from it. Obsessive thoughts are about staying hooked on an idea and not being able to get rid of it. They usually involve a concern, an irrational or absurd concern. Generating unnecessary suffering.
We all had a bad day, a discussion, or a situation that just annoyed us all day. Situations that make us spend the day thinking about them and how we could have acted or reacted differently. Nevertheless, even if we wish it, we cannot stop thinking about it. Although we cannot change anything, our mind keeps examining it again and again. It becomes an “I want to stop, but I cannot”. Obsessive thoughts and anxiety are so.
Indeed, thoughts can be a very important part of our lives because they allow us to become aware of our feelings and our way of acting. They help us think and make sense of our everyday experiences. The problem arises when these thoughts become obsessive and limit our actions. All thoughts do not help; in fact, they can sometimes become completely toxic.
There are certain types of thoughts that, instead of helping us, totally block us and produce sensations such as anxiety and stress. For example, imagine someone wondering if they have closed the door of the car; her thoughts kept turning in her head as she checked that her car was closed. Learning how to handle repetitive thoughts can be a key to recovering your emotional well-being. First and foremost, it’s a good idea to know how much these ideas are hurting and limiting your life. Did you know?
*** Too Thinking Is Exhausting
Normally, we think about our problems by trying to find solutions. In this way, we discover new points of view that help us manage what happens to us more easily. However, this natural process of internal reflection does not always act as we would like and, instead of offering us greater clarity, fogs our judgment by entering a spiral of negative thoughts that are repeated indefinitely.
Thoughts become intruders in our own minds, and if we pay attention to them, they can become obsessions that limit our actions. This need to ruminate all those things that concern us can arise at any time. For example, when we are at work, when we shop or when we wash our teeth. Without realizing it, they can occupy all our mental space by also affecting the state of the soul.
And if I asked you:
*** Obsessive Thoughts and Anxiety, What Is It?
Obsessive thoughts and anxiety are repetitive, recurrent, and unintentional ideas that normally focus on the concerns, fears, and anxieties that prevent you from focusing on the present. Anxiety and stress are the main sources of this type of thought that can also affect your behavior.
Imagine a person who cannot stop thinking that it is contaminated (by pollution, a virus, etc.). This idea will probably push her to wash more often and avoid certain places she considers dirty. These types of negative thoughts can also appear in the form of mental images that are repeated over and over again without anyone being able to control them. A kind of circle is created then, a circle from which it is very difficult to leave.
It’s as if you were caught in a hurricane of thoughts whirling about with devastating force. Rumination is so intense that it can become addictive: the more we try to stop thinking, the more obsessive thoughts and anxiety arise.
So, let’s answer this question:
*** Is It Normal to Have This Type of Thought?
An intense anxiety disorder or a period of prolonged stress can cause invasive thoughts that momentarily interfere with our daily lives. Being in contact with negative thoughts that generate fears and doubts is natural for all human beings at certain moments. The fact that they turn into obsessive thoughts and anxiety depends on the relationship we have with them.
A thought becomes pathological when we start to believe in it and do not question it anymore. For example, imagine a mother who thinks her son is being stolen. If this idea is immediately dismissed, it is an intrusive thought that does not become an obsession because it is not considered important. Although we may all have thoughts of this kind at a given time, it is more common to observe them frequently in people with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
Are you questioning yourself about the following:
*** Causes of Obsessive Thoughts and Anxiety
Obsessive thoughts emerge for several reasons or, more accurately, the combination of several reasons. One of the most common is related to the future concretely, with the need to predict the future. We want to know the future to predict it, to know that tomorrow will be a day without difficulties. We want to control the uncontrollable, which is impossible. Unexpected things happen every day.
Obsessive thoughts also arise because of our low tolerance for anxiety. We live in a world where we are constantly running and constantly bombarding us with stimuli and information. We must always be busy and do things. All this generates stress so that we can feel anxiety. This allows us to prepare our bodies, not our minds. We want to get rid of an idea when it makes us anxious, to silence it for a moment. We do not tend to think about it.
The last reason is “Terranism.” It is a belief that any adversity is “terrible.” We consider ourselves the center of the universe. We, therefore, consider all time as the end of the world. This tendency to exaggerate problems is another reason for obsessive thoughts and anxiety. These are the three main reasons for obsessive thoughts. There are, however, others, such as superstitious thought, excessive shame, fear of ridicule, and so on.
And yes! Certainly, you are wondering:
*** What Are the Types of Obsessive Thoughts and Anxiety?
People who suffer from an obsessive-compulsive disorder or just those people who are going through a great time of anxiety can experience different types of obsessive thoughts. Below are examples of typical obsessive thoughts among concerned people.
– Fear of contracting diseases, being contaminated by a virus, not being clean enough.
– Need to organize things in a definite way, obsession for symmetry or order.
– Thoughts related to the fear of leaving the door open, the gas lit, to be burglarized.
– Sexual ruminations that are linked to attacks, rapes, etc.
– Fears and sensations of danger about one’s own physical integrity or that of others, related to the ability to hurt others or the ability of others to harm.
Indeed, you wonder about:
*** The Consequences of the Trap of Obsessive Thoughts
These thoughts feed on themselves and have negative consequences in people’s lives. If you are thinking of a man obsessed with constantly checking his work, it is possible that this man is never satisfied with himself and always comes home very late because of this obsession.
Here are some attempts at solutions that people lead and some consequences of this grip:
– Avoid doing things because of fear: when a situation scares us, we can avoid going out of the house, taking the car, touching objects that we think are dirty, etc. It limits our daily lives and prevents us from living our lives normally.
– Constantly check one thing to be sure: it is a type of compulsion very typical in those who suffer from an obsessive-compulsive disorder. When we close the door of the house or the car and return to check 10 times that it is well closed, we obey a compulsion that can calm us at the moment but which nourishes, in fact, the anxiety and the obsession.
– Postpone activities to another time: thinking that we will do this on another day may lead us never to realize it. For example, imagine that you want to take care of your plants, but you have this irrational fear that a spider will appear in the middle of their leaves. You are so obsessed with this thought that you end up not doing what you may have been passionate about in the past.
– The need for everything to be perfect: perfection is the enemy of the good. Therefore, trying to reach the impossible can make you lose the north. The person who is obsessed with his work will, for example, lose many important moments in his family life because he will want to stay focused on his professional obligations.
After learning about obsessive thoughts, obsessive thoughts, the consequences of obsessive thoughts, and so on, you need to be inclined to know how to handle your obsessive thoughts. And it is this concern that responds to the rest of this article that you read!
I – How to Manage Obsessive Thoughts and Anxiety?
Is there anything you cannot get out of your head? Does something obsess you? The obsessive thoughts can be very disturbing and frustrating, and they can return regularly for many years. However, there are many ways to handle and deal with a mental obsession.
1 – Find Distractions.
You can scribble, play solitaire, listen to music, dance, watch a movie or play video games. By involving yourself in the activity of your choice, you can focus your mind on something else, and you may be able to forget about your obsession.
However, remember that this is a temporary way to reduce your obsessive thoughts; it is not a solution for the long term or a constructive solution.
2 – Keep a Diary.
You can also express a healthy emotion by writing what you feel. It is also important to record your thoughts. When you get to spend a day without thinking too often about the thing that occupies your thoughts, write it down in your journal. This allows you to see that you can overcome that thought. Be sure also to note situations where this thought emerges. You can put a different header in your journal entry, so you do not forget it.
– Your journal will also be a good way to understand better the things that trigger your obsession. It will be an ally when it comes time to overcome the thoughts that obsess you.
– However, you should not forget that you might encourage yourself to ponder your thoughts if you notice them, or you could go into an “infinite loop” by constantly repeating the same thought. It is important to think about your thoughts by asking what makes them appear, what you do when they appear, and how you think you can change them.
– If you realize that you are mulling your thoughts in your diary, try to catch yourself in the act. Instead of repeating the same thoughts, start by thinking about where they come from and why you want them to loop.
– Challenge negative thoughts when you see them. If you are concerned that no one likes you, examine the evidence that confirms it or proves otherwise. For example, you might think that’s the case because you invited the boy out of the cafe, and he told you no. Otherwise, you might think that is not the case because you know your friends and family love you and think you are great. Last week, a stranger asked you for your phone number while you were waiting for the bus. Your last relationship lasted two years, and your boyfriend was very interested in you.
3 – Avoid Inefficient Strategies in the Short Term.
People use all kinds of methods to combat invading obsessive thoughts and anxiety, but they are rarely effective in the long run. For example, let’s say you’ve ever wanted to strangle your pet with a leash, and you’re afraid this strange thought will make you a bad person. You could then succumb to the temptation of behaviors that temporarily relieve you of this thought. There are several types of these behaviors that you should avoid because they bring you only temporary relief, and they will not help you to reach the heart of the problem. Here are some examples:
– The checks. For example, you check that the leash is tidy in its drawer, so you do not want to realize your invading thought.
– The escape. For example, you avoid your pet as much as possible so as not to give you the opportunity to strangle him.
– The search for comfort. For example, you could take your pet to the vet more often than necessary to ensure he is doing well and that you have not unintentionally hurt him.
4 – Face Your Fears.
This strategy works well in the long term; it’s called exposure and response prevention. This method involves exposing you to scenarios that usually bring out your obsessive thoughts while forcing you not to put in place ineffective management strategies in the short term, such as checks or flights.
– You must begin by identifying the elements that make these obsessive thoughts appear. Continuing with your pet’s example, this could happen when you see it, when you hear it, or when you are in a certain room.
– If you realize that you have trouble avoiding short-term strategies such as checks and leaks, try to delay them only for thirty seconds. You could then realize after these thirty seconds that you are able to add another thirty seconds, and so on, until you can completely prevent yourself from doing so.
5 – Manage Your Stress.
Stress can make your obsessive thoughts appear or even worsen. Do your best to reduce your stress by trying the following activities.
– Eat healthy foods such as lean meats, fruits, and vegetables, and most importantly, eat everything, but in moderation, on a balanced diet.
– Sleep well at night. Try to find the number of hours of sleep you need to feel attacked in the morning and try to sleep that number of hours every night.
– Seek support for others and ask for help often. Reduce your intake of caffeine and other stimulants, as they may cause or worsen your anxiety.
– Avoid managing your anxiety or obsessive thoughts by taking drugs or drinking alcohol. These are solutions that will often turn against you. At best, this will not solve your problems in a constructive way that you can maintain in the long run.
– Try to practice exercises to relieve your stress, for example, aerobic exercises such as running.
6 – Think About the Probability That Untoward Events Will Occur.
Some negative thoughts arise because of things that are really unlikely to happen. You may be obsessed with thinking that the plane you are going to take will crash. To combat this thought, remember that there are thousands of planes taking off and landing without any problem every day. This will allow you to remember that these events are rather rare.
– You can calm yourself by remembering that you only hear of planes crashing and never of those who land without trouble. This lets you realize that the likelihood of an air disaster is slim.
7 – Try Progressive Muscle Relaxation.
The tension in your body sometimes feeds your anxiety. By learning to relax your body, you can reduce this tension and therefore reduce your obsessive thoughts and anxiety. This method eliminates tension in the muscles, one after the other. Here’s how.
– While inhaling deeply, contract a group of muscles or a part of your body by folding or stretching it.
– As you exhale, slowly reduce tension by unfolding or relaxing muscles. At this point, they should become more relaxed if you have done it properly.
– Repeat the process with different muscle groups until you feel completely relaxed and the obsessive thoughts and anxiety subside.
8 – Ask a Professional for Help.
It is likely that the most effective way to get rid of an obsession is to discuss it with a psychologist or other mental health professional such as a psychiatrist or therapist.
– Just do a search on the internet to find a specialist near you.
– There are also directories of qualified doctors, but you can also ask your general practitioner to advise a professional.
9 – Know That It Is Normal to Have Strange Ideas.
Studies have shown that most people, from time to time, have bizarre or disturbing thoughts. If you find yourself obsessed with a thought because you worry, it’s weird or does not fit your personality; you should not forget that everyone at one time or another has weird thoughts.
Knowing that you are not alone with this problem might be helpful.