Struggling with obsessive recurring thoughts is something most of us go through at some point in time. These thoughts are usually negative, such as humiliation or anger, but can be positive too. Whether positive or negative, obsessive thoughts can distract from daily tasks and make it difficult to focus on anything else. Thankfully, obsessive thinkers can try a few techniques to put a stop it.
Take a few minutes to acknowledge your feelings in all their intensity. Often, thoughts come back simply because we don’t take the time to address them. Take just a few moments to really feel everything that is going through your head. For example, if you have reoccurring fears about something you fear, let yourself feel the full weight of that fear for a few minutes.
Write your thoughts down. Writing is a soothing practice; When you are plagued by recurring thoughts, writing them down will transfer them out of your head and onto something concrete, such as a piece of paper or a computer screen. Seeing your thoughts in front of you can often help you make sense of them, or at least organize them -- so you can stop thinking about them all the time.
Breathe slowly and deeply several times. Breathing this way is a key relaxation technique and can help your mind slow down and let go of unwanted thoughts.
Take “minute” vacations. Simply find something that you can do purely for pleasure for a few moments. For example, walk outside and people watch, close your eyes and daydream or start planning a vacation you always wanted to take. The idea is to let this personal pleasure ease your mind and help you release your thoughts.
Say “STOP” when you catch yourself thinking obsessively. Say it out loud, with enough volume for yourself to physically hear it. You will actively interrupt the obsessive thought and prevent yourself from dwelling.
Negate the obsessive thoughts you are having with opposing thoughts. For example, if you find yourself afraid of an upcoming presentation, start telling yourself that everything will go wonderfully. If you find that you are obsessively thinking about a fantastic date you had, start planning another one. In this way, you will replace plaguing, recurring thoughts with more productive ones.
Turn your focus on some other task. Go for a walk, watch a movie or clean out the attic. Doing such tasks will help force your mind out of its repetitive thought pattern.
Get a good night’s sleep, if you can. While recurring thoughts can sometimes interrupt sleep patterns, if you can coax yourself to sleep, you will often wake up without the pestering thought pattern.