How to Stop Obsessive Thoughts from Ruining Your Life

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how to stop obsessive thoughts

I can tell you how to stop obsessive thoughts so you can take control of your life. It takes willpower and a few other tricks!

Okay, well I’m not an expert on how to stop obsessive thoughts, and here is why. For years, I’ve struggled with these irritating little habits myself. I constantly worried about what other people thought about me and I stressed over whether or not I said the right things in certain conversations. Sometimes these obsessive thoughts even kept me up at night.

I have the inside scoop

Due to the fact that I did endure decades of obsessing over everything, however, I can tell you what does and doesn’t work for me in this area. There are things that seem appropriate but don’t really have a positive effect on your individual situation. For instance, you cannot force yourself to stop this habit. It’s going to take a little more than that. Here are a few ways you can learn how to stop this unhealthy behavior.

If it doesn’t work, don’t repeat

Those obsessive thoughts you’ve been having, yeah, they aren’t having the desired effect now, are they? Most of the time when you obsess over a situation or conversation, it doesn’t really help anything. In fact, it usually makes things worse. Then you continue to do the same thing, with the full knowledge of failure.

Seems strange, doesn’t it? Well, the best thing to do is start practicing a new routine. It won’t be easy to change your routine, but it can be done. First off, when you start to obsess, try to remember the end result and over time, you will overthink less and less. The goal is to end this habit and eventually, you will.

Get angry

If your obsessive thoughts are driving you crazy, then get mad at them! I’m serious when I say this. You can actually show your frustration, yell at your intrusive thoughts and throw a full-blown tantrum just to relieve stress. It is better to show your true emotions than sit quietly brooding about everything that did or could go wrong in your life.

Let go of the past

One of the most effective ways of learning how to stop obsessive thoughts is to let go of the past and old hurts. When something traumatic has happened, it’s hard to release the pain and sadness, but it can be done.

The first step to letting go of the past is recognizing the root of what has hurt us. For some people, the past can be lost in denial, forgotten for decades. This is how obsession hides and causes so much damage in our present lives. We must unveil the truth about our past in order to heal now, and stop these obsessive thoughts for good.

“Certainly we are shaped by the past and we must learn from it.”

-Gordon Livingston M.D., psychiatrist

Recognize these traits

Obsessive thoughts are recognized by certain characteristics. It’s a warning that your emotions are about to become uncontrollable.

Usually, obsession can be pinpointed by uncertainty, superstition, pessimism, control, and perfectionism. Otherwise, being obsessive wouldn’t have such a stronghold in your life. By recognizing these characteristics, and more, you can learn how to stop obsessive thoughts.

Visualization

If you want to know how to stop obsessive thoughts, then try seeing them as a train running off the track. You must get the train back on its normal route. This can also be visualized with a car or any other vehicle.

This visualization helps you concentrate, thus neglecting the obsessive thought pattern for the moment. With repetition, this practice can become a habit which drives quite a bit of negative thoughts from your life.

Schedule your obsessions

Try this one out for a change! Set aside a specific time of day to allow yourself to obsess. This means, for 20 minutes at that specified time each day, you get to obsess as much as you want, no limitations. This also means that the rest of day must be free from this habit. Do not allow yourself to obsess at any other time but the schedule slot you made for yourself.

What this accomplishes is simple. When you schedule a time to obsess each day, you are taking control of that negative behavior. Yes, you are allowing it to continue, but only when you deem fit. As this negative behavior remains under your control, you can eventually do away with it altogether.

Laugh at those thoughts

No, obsessive thoughts aren’t funny, but you can make fun of them. Learning to laugh when you find yourself drowning in things like self-doubt and over-analyzation can help you stay sane. After all, those obsessive thoughts can be pretty relentless at times.

Some people even have friends who are willing to laugh with them during this time of need. Laughter also releases those feel-good chemicals endorphins as well, which can help you gain a different perspective on your worries.

Forgiveness

One reason why obsessive thoughts get out of control is that when they occur, regret often follows. First, you obsess over something, then you feel bad about it which makes you obsess about that as well. It turns into an endless cycle of obsession and regret!

You can help yourself so much by learning to forgive your obsessive behavior and learn to let go of your other mistakes as well.

Be realistic!

Most of the time, our obsessive thoughts aren’t 100% realistic. It varies from person to person, with some people having a predominantly realistic view of the situation while others have built quite a fantasy world of doubt.

When these obsessive thoughts rear their heads, take inventory of the facts. This way you can get a more realistic view of what’s happening to you.

Stop Obsessing now!

Well, maybe you cannot turn this switch off and stop the obsession right away, but you can get started. Like with any unhealthy habit, it takes one step at a time to transform the way you perceive your life.

You will always ruminate about things, which is normal, but you will have to learn to grasp the difference between what’s important and what doesn’t really matter. That is the key!

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Sherrie

Sherrie is a freelance writer and artist with over 10 years of experience. She spends most of her time giving life to the renegade thoughts. As the words erupt and form new life, she knows that she is yet again free from the nagging persistence of her muse. She is a mother of three and a lifetime fan of the thought-provoking and questionable aspects of the universe.




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2 Comments

  1. Don November 26, 2017 at 10:56 pm - Reply

    I’ve said this before, but you have a way of hitting home with me on writings. I read a few lines and knew this was Sherrie. I do have obsessive thoughts in one area in particular. When a person feels betrayal (my worst word in our or any language) or if circumstances exist that have created a hurtful situation which cannot be corrected, it creates a perfect ground for obsessive thoughts. And if that person is still in your life it is especially unforgiving in its strength. I’ve dealt with this for years. Sadly, the problem wasn’t directed at me personally which could have been worked out, but left two hearts conflicted nevertheless. The past is powerful where the heart is concerned and if you cannot overcome another ones past, going forward can leave heartache in the wake. I haven’t found a way to rid the thoughts. It leaves you feeling helpless. To ‘let go of the past’ proves difficult when it wasn’t yours to let go of.

    • Sherrie November 27, 2017 at 7:54 pm - Reply

      Don,

      I must confess. I believe I live in the past much more than in the present most times. I have such sorrow for people and places that I can no longer see. There is a deep pang in my heart for those things and I keep trying to find a way to get to them, although I know this is impossible. As time goes on, this box of nostalgia just gets bigger and bigger and I sit for hours reminiscing about what was and what could have been. I am just grateful that there is a small part of me which pushes on. I think we all struggle in this area, and it causes so many problems when our past has such strong influence on the innocence of our future.

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