What’s on your mind these days?
Is there something you can’t seem to stop thinking about? Obsessive thinking is like a dog with a bone, the mind just won’t let go.
Things which make us unhappy or uncertain seem to be the most common object of obsessive thought. The excessive replaying or regretting of the past, worrying about the future, or analysing and resisting the present situation.
It would be hard to find many people (monks/ meditation masters/ enlightened beings excluded!) who don’t experience obsessive thinking. I can obsess for days, weeks or even MONTHS! Some people obsess for years about the same thing. We humans seem to be very good at it.
But, obsessive thinking doesn’t get you anywhere. The first couple of times the thought might be useful, but to run it over and over in the mind in various guises adds nothing. It distracts you from enjoying the present moment and causes anxiety. Anxiety can cause a whole heap of physical health problems.
Here’s how to manage obsessive thinking, improving your mental, emotional, spiritual and physical wellbeing. I use all four approaches at different times but I think number four is my favourite – probably because it’s easiest!
1) Observe your thoughts
You don’t need to stop thinking, you just need not be dragged away by your thoughts.
One way of doing this is to observe the obsessive thoughts. It might sound weird, but you are not your thoughts, they are simply energy forms that move through you. That’s why you can observe them inside your head, just like you can observe clouds in the sky. You don’t have to grab onto each one and follow it. Just let it pass.
It appears difficult to untie our attachment to obsessive thoughts, but that’s because we are out of practice. Most of our lives we’ve let our thoughts dictate our focus, rather than our focus dictate our thoughts.
2) Stop your thoughts
What you think in your mind has the capacity to manifest in your reality. The harder a thought pulls on you emotionally/ energetically, the more likely it is to manifest itself in some form.
So when your mind goes to this thing that you are obsessing about for the 10th time today, ask yourself:
•Do I want this? and/ or
•Is it helpful?
Usually, the answer is NO. It might have been helpful the first time you thought it. But the 10th?
Make a conscious decision to STOP the thoughts right there. If you can’t deal with the situation or affect it in any way, then this obsessive thinking is only causing you anxiety and potentially undesirable manifestations.
Distract yourself or do something fun. Just tell yourself gently ‘no thanks’ when the mind starts going down that unwanted path. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. A habit worth cultivating.
3) Change your thoughts
As an example, if your obsessive thoughts are around not having enough money, make a conscious effort to think of all the ways in which you do have money and real wealth (which is not monetary). Because the mind feeds more on negativity, introducing positive thoughts may calm down the obsessive thinking.
Taking it one important step further, underneath the surface there’s often more going on that could be driving obsessive thinking.
Someone deep in obsessive thoughts about not having enough money, could have root beliefs around lack of worthiness and inadequacy about wealth. It is these negative belief systems that could actually be driving obsessive thinking at the source. There are processes that help people to change their root beliefs into more positive and beneficial ones.
Meditation and yoga really help to calm the mind. So does surrendering to life.
Remind yourself that there’s something much grander in control, than you. Look at this amazing universe! It’s crazy, mad, inexplicable magic… and you are part of it. So trust whatever put you here. If it can make a billion galaxies, the tiniest ant, the biggest whale, the hugest mountain, the loudest thunder, the tiniest cells, it knows what its doing! So as I once heard: ‘let go, let God’. ?
So when it comes to managing unhealthy obsessive thinking, we can observe, stop, choose, or chill! Everyone’s different so you have to get a feel for what works for you at any given time.
What’s important is what all of the above techniques do – they remove the charge from obsessive thoughts. Unplug them. Cut their energy supply. Then they cannot rule over you any longer.