How to Stop Obsessive Thoughts

If you’re having obsessive thoughts you are not alone, studies actually show that around 90% of people have obsessive thoughts at some time in their life. Understanding how to stop obsessive thoughts is not something that you should worry about too much as it can easily be tackled.

Overcoming Obsessive Thoughts

OCD is when people take these obsessive thoughts and it actually disrupts their lives. Common obsessive thoughts include repeating certain actions and failure to repeat these actions causes stress and anxiety. OCD is a medically recognised disorder, however not everyone with obsessive thoughts have OCD. Though OCD has baffled many doctors for many years, there are now quite a few different techniques that can be used when overcoming obsessive thoughts and impulses.

Confronting obsessions: One thing that separates people with OCD from other mental illnesses is that they are aware that the obsessive thoughts don’t make sense. However, despite that fact, very few people actually confront these thoughts head on. By confronting the obsessive thoughts a person might have when suffering from OCD they can realise how irrational these thoughts are. They can then begin to push aside these obsessive thoughts and continue with their life as normal. Of course all of this is easier said than done and may take months or even years before the issue is resolved entirely but the sooner you begin the sooner that healing process can start to take effect.

Relax: Obsessive thoughts are caused by anxiety and stress. Learning to relax at the end of the day or even in the middle can help stop individual from triggering further obsessive thoughts. Taking a hot bath or lying in bed are two ways that might help an individual relax. By settling into a relaxation routine you will gradually begin to find that some of the obsessive thoughts you have previously had simply slip away. Different people find different methods work more effectively, but if worst comes to worst why not just escape from it all and take a mini-break? No television, no phone, no irritating boss or stressful deadlines. Just time to unwind and relax.

Redirecting your attention. Some people simply cannot help obsessive thoughts no matter what they try. Redirecting a person’s attention after having an obsessive thought is one technique that can be used to help ignore them. If you notice yourself having an obsessive thought at any time, immediately try to redirect your attention by engaging in another activity, such as watching television or reading a book. Though this doesn’t fix the problem, it allows a person to try and live a much more normal lifestyle without the obsessive thoughts affecting them.

How to Stop Obsessive Thoughts

How to Stop Obsessive Thoughts

Thought stopping: Though this may sound very similar to the above point but it is in fact completely different. When you find that you have an obsessive thought starting to appear, yell “STOP” in your head. This is not the same as redirecting your attention because you are actually stopping the thought process of your obsessive thoughts. If you manage to successfully stop the obsessive thought simply repeat the next time it comes along. Do not dwell on it, simply continue with what you are doing and eventually the process will become automatic, just like the obsessive thought used to be.

Following a friend: Sometimes one of the easiest ways to stop obsessive thoughts and behaviour is by following a friend. If you find that a certain action triggers obsessive thoughts, ask your friend if they will do it with you. Simply copy what your friend does in performing the action and it makes it much easier to do without performing obsessive actions. If you do this a few times you will begin to realise how irrational those obsessive thoughts are and how they do not need to be thought. Eventually you should be able to perform the actions alone without the onset of these obsessive thoughts.

Congratulate yourself: Make sure that if you manage to remove a particular obsessive thought in a certain situation you reward yourself. This can be done through treating yourself to something special or simply patting yourself on the back. It is important to recognise times when you have been able to beat your obsessive thoughts because this will help you overcome them again in the future.

Change your location: Many people suffering from obsessive thoughts find that they are associated with a specific location or action. By taking a week off and going on holiday or visiting a friend, you can remove these factors. Not only do you change the location and therefore avoid the triggers that have activated the obsessive thoughts in the past, but you are also able to relax, which, as already discussed, is vitally important if you are to conquer your OCD entirely.

Think the Opposite: If you are experiencing an obsessive thought, try and spin it around. If you are looking in the mirror and constantly thinking you are looking fat, repeat in your head “I’m skinny” until the obsessive thought has passed. Combating the thoughts in this way will eventually allow you to stop worrying about them altogether. While this may not make the obsessive thoughts disappear immediately, half the battle is being aware that you can control these thought, rather than they simply control you. As soon as this realisation has dawned you will find you immediately feel less strained by it all.

Finally, always remember that everyone is different. These are just examples of how to stop obsessive thoughts. Some may work and others may not. It is simply a question of experimenting and finding what’s right for you. Whatever you do, never give up. The moment you do the OCD has won. It may take a while before you’ve mastered the skills for overcoming obsessive thoughts, however it will be worth while and a huge relief when you do.

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