Have you ever had an annoying song stuck in your head? You don’t even like the song and yet you can’t stop hearing it play in your head. It’s one of those where you “thanked” your friend for singing it. That’s the good side of obsessive compulsive thoughts. Yes the thoughts are annoying and you can’t seem to shake it but it’s not really a thought that does harm to you.
The other side of obsessive compulsive thoughts are those that do you harm. They cause stress, fear, anxiety and even panic attacks. While these thoughts may not even have the slightest chance of coming true they are true in your mind because you are living the experience. You may be feeling the feelings of something you fear coming true and you can’t shake it. You try and try but they just don’t seem to go away.
So what can you do to stop these terrible thoughts?
First let’s look at why they are so problematic. In your mind you are linking up emotions with the pictures or sounds in your mind. When you link strong emotions with these thoughts they become more real and they create a stronger bond. A negative thought will become stronger and the more you fear it the more you think about it. The more you think about it the more you fear it. As this cycle continues you are creating more stress and anxiety. This can create poor health, depression, lack of energy and put undue stress on your relationships.
When you have these obsessive compulsive thoughts you need to stop trying to get rid of them. By trying not to think about them you are causing your self to think about them more.
This is no different than someone telling you not to think of a blue car. See, your mind can’t picture the word “not” so it only sees a blue car. This example works for anything that you can picture in your mind. If the thought you fear is a violent act then picture something else. Don’t try to not think of the violent act.
Take a deep breath and relax. Don’t try to force the thought out. Think of something else and if the thought returns, just notice it and let it go but do not try to force it out. Being in a relaxed state you are better able to control your thoughts instead of them controlling you.