5 Ways to Immediately Deal with Obsessive Thinking

I have dealt with obsessive thoughts since I was a child. It would literally bring me to a point where I was beside myself with anxiety, and 9 times out of 10, it was actually over nothing. The feelings were made of razor blades and fabrications, a make-believe land where the cotton candy was actually fiberglass.

Even now, at the age of 30 and medicated, I still get crippled by it from time to time. So I want to share a few of the ways that I deal with popping the oil bubble in my brain.

  1. Acknowledge it. Don’t fight it. Let the thoughts pass unhindered, and pay them no more mind than you would a stranger walking past you in the grocery store.
  2. Find something else to do. Quickly. The sooner you can fill your mind with other thoughts, the faster the shitty ones will be crowded out.
  3. Talk to someone about it. This one is hard. Sometimes you are fairly certain that if you discuss your crazy thoughts with someone, they are going to call the Straitjacket Brigade to take you away. Find someone you trust and let them know that you’re going through a hard time. A real friend doesn’t mind that you need reassurance.
  4. Laugh. Find something funny and really let it go. I listen to Game Grumps when I’m feeling particularly obsessive.
  5. Tell yourself that this will pass. Take a nap. Eat something. Go about your day. Routine is your friend when the demons are at your back.

Worry, Thy Name is Piglet

I talk very openly about my issues with anxiety, depression, and obsessive thinking nowadays. It used to be something I only discussed with people who would experience it on a day to day basis, which was mostly roommates. It was like a little troll that followed me around. Hanging out with me for a few hours, and you may have never seen it. I could stuff it into my pockets or stick it in the backseat of my car. But if you lived with me day to day, you were going to notice it waddling around the apartment, generally being a nuisance.

I’ve dealt with these issues thanks to medication, but what many people don’t realize is that medication doesn’t make the problem go away. The troll doesn’t disappear like one of the green mucus critters from the mucinex commercials. The medication just puts the troll in a box. That way, I can carry the troll around and go about my business. It doesn’t change the fact that I have to drag it wherever I go and listen to it being an all-around pain in butt.

Suffice to say: I still have bad days.

Recently, I was struck by a day in which I was chronically worrying. I went to the mall. I worried. I bought some cute clothes. I worried. I finished reading a book and bought a dozen chocolate chip cookies. I worried.

As I drove in my car through gross, cold rain, I listened to a meditation in which it was encouraged to greet your negative feelings.

Hello, worry.

I did feel silly.

“Acknowledge the feeling. Welcome it, and make the decision to go about your business.”

Hi, worry. Yes, I see you there. No, I don’t want to hang out. Go away. Again, my instinct was seeing the troll, the annoying little jerk-in-the-box who was bothering and nagging and that needed to be exterminated by chronic foot-up-the-ass.

The meditation then went on to recommend giving the feeling an actual character. It encouraged making this fun and whimsical. And I’m not sure why it clicked with me at that moment, but I knew what my worry was. I knew what I wanted it to be. Thank you, Disney Store.

Piglet. From Winnie the Pooh.

pigletWho doesn’t freaking love Piglet? He’s constantly, hilariously frazzled. He’s always getting blown around because he’s a little guy, and as a result, he’s just in a perpetual state of “hot mess.” Piglet is a hot damn mess.

Suddenly, my worrying took on a different role in my head. I wasn’t really mad at it, or annoyed. I was laughing at it. I was imagining my own “deary dear dear” Piglet, wringing his little paws, and I was able to go, “Piglet, chill. Oh my god, everything’s okay.”

I felt so much better.

When’s the last time you tried to change your perspective on how you were feeling about something? What is keeping you from, say, writing or finishing a project? Is there a way you could laugh at it instead of feeling stressed out?