When Worry Takes Over: 5 Ways to Control Obsessive Thinking | Integrated Counseling and Wellness

When Worry Takes Over: 5 Ways to Control Obsessive Thinking

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If you suffer from obsessive thinking it can seem as if your thoughts are haunting you, never going away. Getting through life with obsessive thinking isn’t easy, but there are ways that you can control obsessive thinking and have a healthier life.

Try Meditation to Control Obsessive Thinking

There is research that shows that practicing meditation can have positive benefits on your brain. If fact, meditation can help reconfigure your brain to operate more effectively and to better handle stress. Consider a simple breathing exercise that allows you to focus on your breathing in and out. You can acknowledge any thoughts that come to mind, let them go, then refocus back on your breathing.

Use Exercise to Control Obsessive Thinking

Heidi Godman of Harvard Medical School writes that physical exercise has scientifically proven benefits for the brain. These include:

  • The release of chemicals in the brain such as dopamine that affect mood.
  • Can help with improving memory.
  • Has a positive impact on getting to sleep and staying asleep.
  • Promotes growth of blood vessels in the brain and the longevity of brain cells.
  • Improves cardiovascular fitness.
  • Prevents weight gain and obesity.

She goes on to write that walking briskly twice a week for 20 minutes can have positive benefits. Before beginning an exercise regimen, make sure to consult with your physician first to check for any medical problems or restrictions that could affect you physically.

Consider Rock Climbing to Control Obsessive Thinking

Rock climbing is just an example, but any activity that requires concentration can help push those obsessive thoughts aside. Climbing requires you to focus your thinking on what you are doing at the moment, such as which move you are doing next. With the growth of climbing in North America there is a climbing gym or wall in almost every major city where you can receive instruction on climbing techniques.

Be Creative to Control Obsessive Thinking

Instead of letting those thoughts sit in your mind and control your thinking, find ways to be creative and get those thoughts out of your head. For instance:

  • Keep a journal about your thoughts and write about what you are thinking.
  • Use art as a medium to get rid of unwanted thoughts.
  • Read a book about a topic you enjoy to redirect your focus onto something else.
  • Spend time with your children or the family pet.
  • Play games that activate your mind, such as chess, puzzles, or board games.
  • Write and/or play music.

Spend Time in Nature to Control Obsessive Thinking

Spending time in nature can be another way to control obsessive thinking. It can also be combined with physical activity to get the chemical and physical benefit of exercise as well. Time spent surrounded by nature can be a calming influence and is fun too. You don’t have to spend a full weekend away from home to get the positive benefits the natural world provides. You can;

  • Take a walk during your lunch break on a path near your office.
  • Eat lunch at a local community park.
  • Sit near a creek or stream. Sitting next to running water can have a calming effect.
  • Watch wildlife at a local pond.
  • Visit a zoo and interact with animals.
  • Walk your dog, either along the sidewalk or along a trail.
  • Enjoy a sunrise or sunset.

Just because you have obsessive thoughts does not mean that you have to be controlled by them. You can take simple steps that are easily incorporated into your daily routine and have positive benefits on your mind, and your life.

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