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Unwanted, invasive, or obsessive thoughts may make you feel anxious, but they are typical and common and frequently occur in the general population and there are methods and techniques you can use to deal with them. It seems to emerge out of nowhere – an odd, unpleasant thought or image that appears in your thoughts. It could be aggressive or sexual, or it could be a persistent fear of doing something incorrect or embarrassing. Whatever the subject, it’s frequently disturbing and might cause anxiety or guilt. The more you try to drive the concept out of your head, the stronger it becomes.

As per the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 6 million Americans are considered to be affected by obsessive thoughts.

Intrusive thoughts are sometimes linked to a mental health issue, like obsessive-compulsive disorder, in which thoughts become so annoying that they trigger recurrent compulsions or behaviors to avoid them. They’re also common in post-traumatic stress disorder, which is brought on by a life-threatening or severely stressful incident like an accident or a violent attack. However, many people who have these beliefs do not have a mental illness.

Stress and worry are common triggers for obsessive thoughts. They could also be a temporary issue caused by biological reasons like hormone shifts. For instance, after the birth of a baby, a mother may feel an increase in obsessive thoughts.

In a 2014 study in the Journal of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders, 777 college students from 13 different nations were interviewed, and it was discovered that nearly all of them had had at least one undesirable intrusive thought in the previous 3 months. While many people have strange or even unpleasant thoughts, the majority of people do not recognize them as a problem in their daily life. The issue arises when they become more than intrusive; they become compulsive.

A person with OCD may have intrusive thoughts that are persistent and intense, posing a major threat to their well-being. An individual with OCD feels a response in their body and mind rather than a balanced response to a fleeting thought. The longer they dwell on the concept, the more anxious they become. The cycle might be upsetting and have an effect on their capacity to operate.

It might not be possible for you to deter an intrusive thought from entering your mind, but you can choose how you respond to it

Obsessive Thoughts & Compulsions

When thoughts are perceived as urgent and significant, a person feels compelled to act on or respond to them in the “correct” way right away. In response to their obsessive thoughts, a person with OCD may develop compulsions.

Behavioral Compulsions

Behavioral compulsions are acts and behaviors employed to try to relieve the suffering caused by intrusive thoughts. For those with OCD, compulsions might feel a little like superstitions. The person usually realizes that the behaviors are irrational (this is referred to as insight), but the anxiety of what will happen if they don’t practice them is strong.

Completing a routine relieves anxiety for a short time, but it leaves a person trapped in the loop since it fosters compulsive thinking.

An individual who is worried about their house burning down when they’re at work, for instance, could ensure that the stove is turned off every day before leaving the house. When they get back at the end of the day and their house isn’t on fire, they believe their ritual (for instance, checking a couple of times or in a specific order) “worked.”

Mental Compulsions

Mental compulsions are also possible. A person may believe, for instance, that if they really do not “think through” or study a thought well enough, this will become a reality. It can be an effort to “balance out” a “bad” notion by thinking about it.

Giving an unwanted thought your whole attention and mental resources can feel like effective problem-solving at first. In actuality, an OCD sufferer’s compulsive thinking habit rarely provides them with useful information.

In fact, it is more likely to exacerbate someone’s anxiousness. Persistence also maintains the loop of intrusive thoughts and obsessive behaviors.

So, how do you know if you’re having trouble with obsessive thoughts? There are a few things to keep an eye out for.

This is an intriguing thought for you. Intrusive thinking is usually distinct from your regular one. It could, for instance, be abnormally violent.

The thought irritates you. It could be an invasive thought if a thinking process is bothering you and you want to get it out of your head.

The thought is difficult to control. Obsessive thoughts tend to repeat themselves and refuse to go away.

The more you consider it, the more worried you become and the worse your ideas become. It is preferable to learn how to live with obsessive ideas rather than battling them. When you get these thoughts, follow the basic process:

1. Recognize the unwanted thought. Think to yourself  ‘That’s simply invasive thinking; it’s not how I think, what I feel or believe, or what I want to do.

2. Don’t try to oppose it. Accept any obsessive thoughts that come to mind. “Don’t try to get rid of it.”

3. Don’t pass judgment on yourself. It’s important to understand that having an unusual or frightening thought doesn’t necessarily mean there’s something wrong with you.

It’s difficult to break free from a fixating thought cycle once you’ve become engrossed in it. If you do find yourself in a cycle of these thoughts, it’s critical to break free as soon as possible to avoid them becoming more severe.

It is easier to prevent and stop ruminating thoughts when they first begin rolling and have less pace than when they have gained tempo over time, just like it is easier to stop a ball rolling downhill.

So, what could you do to stop your mind from racing with obsessive thoughts?

When you start to have the same thought or set of emotions, roiling around in your head, try these ten tips:

1. Keep yourself occupied.

Finding a distraction when you realize you are starting to ruminate can help you break the cycle. Look around you, pick something else to do quickly, and don’t think about it again. Consider:

  • Making a phone call to a family member or friend
  • Completing household chores
  • Watching a movie
  • Making a drawing
  • Reading a book
  • Going for a walk in your neighborhood

2. Make a plan to act.

Rather than repeating the same bad thoughts over and over, take that thought and make a plan to deal with it.

Outline each step you’ll need to take to solve the problem in your head or write it down on a piece of paper. Make your expectations as precise as possible while remaining realistic.

This will cause your ruminating thoughts to be disrupted. It will also assist you in moving forward in your attempt to eliminate a negative thought from your mind for good.

3. Do something about it

Take one little move to address the issue after you’ve created a plan of action to tackle your ruminating thoughts. Refer back to the strategy you devised to solve the problem you have been pondering.

Slowly and progressively advance with each stage until your mind is at ease.

4. Interrogate your ideas

When we believe we’ve made a major error or when we feel responsible for something traumatic that has happened to us, we frequently ruminate.

If you find yourself ruminating on a worrisome thought, try putting it into perspective.

Thinking about how your distressing thought might not be factual can help you stop fixating or obsessing on thoughts even though you realize it’s illogical.

5. Re-evaluate your life’s objectives.

Rumination can be triggered by perfectionism and establishing unreasonable goals. If you establish unreasonable goals, you may begin to wonder why and how you haven’t achieved them, or what you should have done to achieve them.

Setting more reasonable goals that you can achieve will help you avoid overanalyzing your own behavior.

6. Work on boosting your self-confidence.

Many persons who ruminate have problems with their self-esteem. In fact, a lack of self-esteem has been linked to more ruminating. It’s also been connected to a higher chance of depression.

Enhancing one’s self-esteem can be done in a variety of ways. Building on current strengths, for example, can increase a sense of mastery, which can boost self-esteem.

In psychotherapy, some persons may opt to concentrate on improving their self-esteem. Self-efficacy may improve as you improve your self-esteem. You might discover that you have more control over ruminating.

7. Give meditation a shot.

Because it includes cleansing your thoughts to get to an emotionally peaceful state, meditation can help to prevent ruminating.

Seek out a calm spot if you find yourself with a loop of thoughts and emotions in your mind. Sit down, take a few deep breaths, and concentrate solely on your breathing.

8. Recognize your triggers

Make a mental note of the scenario you are in every time you realize yourself ruminating. This contains information such as where you are, what time it is, who is near you (if anyone), and what you have done that day.

You can lessen your rumination by figuring out how to avoid or control these triggers.

9. Speak with a friend

Isolation might come from ruminating on your thoughts. Breaking the loop may require talking about your feelings with a buddy who might provide a fresh viewpoint.

Instead of ruminating with you, chat with a buddy who can provide you with that viewpoint.

10. See a therapist

If your brooding thoughts are sweeping over your life, counseling can be a good option. A therapist can assist you in determining why you are ruminating and how to deal with the underlying issues.

Here are some tried-and-true methods to stop an unhealthy attraction.

1. Take Them Down.

When we are drawn to someone, we tend to overlook their imperfections. Putting the focus on their flaws can help you overcome your obsession. View the person’s flaws and shortcomings as a partner. Highlight these aspects to show a balance and that the individual is not perfect.

Consider the bad times you’ve experienced with this person. Consider the times you were worried about their actions, like the night they stormed out on you during a dispute. Don’t dwell on the past’s positives only, ignoring the negatives altogether.

2. Don’t Allow Their Views Define You.

Obsessed with somebody, we usually value their opinion, no matter how ludicrous. If this person constantly insults you, it’s time to let them go. You deserve respect. Your past does not define you until you let it.

Don’t allow anyone to tell you that there isn’t room for constructive change or growth on a new path. You will feel constrained, limited, and despondent. People that want to keep you thinking this way do so because they fear losing you as you improve and move on to other things.

You must be the final decision-maker. You do what is best for you in the long run, and you ignore others who want to limit your potential.

3. Find A Buddy.

Enlist your friends’ aid to cope and get over an obsession. Your friends and relatives are undoubtedly well aware of the problem and can offer valuable advice. Their viewpoint helps you understand yourself and others. Maybe you ignored some of their warning signs. Get a partner who can make you accountable and who you can contact when you’re overwhelmed with preoccupation.

They can also support and comfort you throughout this time. Go out when you can. Invite your friends to supper or a drink. Don’t wallow in your grief alone at home. Keep going, since the other guy is still going.

4. Accept That You Don’t Need Them.

This could be a new or old crush. You may want them, but they do nothing for you. a person who does not value or cherish you. Believing that you don’t have to persuade someone to stay with you. Consider how well you lived before meeting this individual.

It will take some time to realize you don’t need this individual in your life. But with time, it will become clearer. After a while, you’ll discover you’re better off without them.

5. Become Aware With Mindfulness Meditation

If you don’t stop thinking about this person, you’ll be trapped in your obsessive behavior. Stop thinking about this guy. Recognize an obsessive mental process. You can manage your ideas once you can detect them as they form.

Mindfulness requires practice, but once mastered, it pays dividends. It will help your body and brain recuperate. Mindfulness has been utilized for ages. Try attentive meditation and be receptive to the possibility that it can help you transform your thinking.

If you’ve been ruminating for a long time and want to stop, here are some basic changes you may make in your life to help you do so:

Make an effort to tackle your difficulties on your own. Recognize problems in your life first, and then begin taking steps to solve them one at a time.

Set your own goals and objectives. When we doubt our own worth, negative ruminating ideas can seep in. Acknowledge yourself for your accomplishments and accept responsibility for your mistakes. Maintain your self-esteem by taking good care of yourself and engaging in activities that you enjoy and succeed at.

Make a network of people to help you. It’s critical to have family members and friends, as well as possibly a therapist, whom you can turn to for support whenever something bad happens or you are having a difficult day. These exceptional folks can help you forget about your ruminating thoughts while also boosting your self-esteem.

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