Obsessive Thoughts

Let’s talk about obsessive thoughts. They’re a pain. They seem powerful. Unstoppable. Uncontrollable. They live rent free in our heads. They can be about anything. A big problem, a small concern, a funny story, a word or phrase, a song, the list goes on. Thinking about them can be so time consuming and energy draining as well! Sometimes the more we tell ourselves not to think these thoughts the more we are thinking about them and giving them power. How do we break this cycle?

What thought(s) are popping up that you can’t stop thinking about? If there are multiple, is there a common theme or thread between them?

How helpful is it thinking these thoughts?

Are they real or rational? Are they fictional or hypothetical?

What’s so important about these thoughts?

How have you stopped thinking about past obsessive thoughts?

How are these thoughts having a negative impact on your day-to-day life?

Do you like ruminating on these thoughts?

Do you want these thoughts gone? How could you get them out of your head?

Would vocalizing these thoughts to someone help diminish their power? It could be to a trusted friend or family member, therapist, coach, counselor, colleague, or some form of private video diary. What about this is appealing or unappealing?

How about journaling? Would releasing these thoughts into a diary give you the freedom to expel them from your mind?

What about scheduling time to think about these thoughts? One time may not be good to think about them but scheduling them for a more appropriate time could lighten their load. Is that something that would work for you?

If you want to get the thoughts out, what method of getting the thoughts out sounds beneficial to you? 

What is it costing you to have these obsessive thoughts? What are they taking time away from?

Instead of fighting the thought, would it disappear if you allowed yourself to take the time to fully think on it and let it resolve? Why or why not?

What would your life be like if you didn’t have these stuck thoughts?

What would be the first thing you noticed if you stopped having these thoughts?

How aware are you of how much time you spend thinking about these thoughts?

What would it take to get these thoughts out of your head?

I know I’m asking a lot of questions and it’s a lot to think about. Be patient with yourself. Try some different methods to clear your mind of these obsessive thoughts. If they’re taking up too much of your time and living in your head rent free, you may have to start charging these thoughts rent to occupy that space.

Keep checking in with yourself. Be mindful and kind to yourself. You know what you need better than anyone.

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