How to Deal With Obsessive Thoughts

According to a Canadian study from Queen’s University, the average person processes close to 6,200 thoughts per day. From daydreams to past memories, the human brain is capable of performing operations faster than a personal computer.

Much to this remarkable feat, however, we can only do so much with the thoughts that play up in our heads. Too much mental clutter as a result of obsessive can affect your ability to perform in day-to-day life.

What is obsessive thinking?

Considered as a form of anxiety disorder, obsessive thinking is defined by the occurrence and recurrence of negative and distressing thoughts. 

People who experience this condition mention a feeling of inadequacy when such thoughts bring up past errors and mistakes. 

At times, the same people may obsess over small details. This can lead to a condition we all know as obsessive-compulsive disorder. 

In any case, paying too much attention to unwanted thoughts can have serious implications for individuals who suffer from obsessive thinking. 

What are the effects of obsessive thoughts?

Overthinking comes naturally to a lot of people. After all, it’s part of our fight-or-flight instinct to analyze a potentially fatal or worrisome situation. 

It’s healthy, but it becomes unhealthy when we start to obsess over thoughts that may or may not pose a direct threat.

Whereas overthinking occurs in the short term, obsessive thinking can recur during certain times. When it happens, a person may experience intense anxiety and an inability to stay focused on a certain task or activity. 

Left untreated, obsessive thoughts can interfere with a person’s performance at work and in social situations. 

These can also trigger depression and panic attacks in some people and may lead to social detachment. 

Fortunately, like many mental health conditions, obsessive thinking can be dealt with through mindfulness and professional intervention.

What to do when you have obsessive thoughts?    

Treating obsessive thoughts starts with acknowledging the problem. Denial won’t solve the problem, so it’s best to confront the condition. From there, it becomes easier to determine how your thought patterns, and the triggers that bring out these patterns. 

It helps to write down how these thoughts are affecting how you act and communicate with others, so consider getting a journal to document your thoughts as they occur. Take note of the scenarios that act as triggers to these episodes.

Apart from recording these episodes, you should also practice mindfulness and keep track of the things that bring mental calm. These include talking to friends and family, doing a wholesome creative activity, or taking a stroll around town. 

If you feel overwhelmed by obsessive thinking, consider doing deep breathing exercises. Look for a peaceful place, sit comfortably down, close your eyes, and take long deep breaths. As you do so, focus on your breathing so as to break your mind’s concentration on these thoughts.

In any case, it’s still best to seek professional help from a psychiatric expert. At MidCities Psychiatry, we can help you or someone you know who is having obsessive thoughts find calm. Contact us today and learn how we can provide support and healing.  

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