Stop Obsessive Thoughts

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There are often times in our lives where thoughts arise, take hold and seem to play in a loop over and over again. The obsessive thoughts may involve the beginning or ending of a relationship. Perhaps there was an altercation with another person that caused anger or hurt. Some people have a problem with habitual worry. When these thoughts interfere with daily lives, they must be controlled.


There are different techniques that help bring our minds back to the present. Some use visualization. When finding yourself enmeshed in an obsessive thought, think about being in a vehicle that veered off the road or a kayak enthusiast dumped in the middle of a great lake. Visualize steering that vehicle back into the right lane or getting back on the kayak and heading to shore. Repeat the exercise as often as necessary.

Keep Busy

If visualization techniques do not seem effective or lose their power, avoid being idle and sitting around. Do something that engages your mind so that obsessive thoughts no longer have an entryway into your thought processes. Read a book, play an instrument or engage in some type of activity where you must interact with other people. Another approach might be starting a journal. Allow yourself maybe 30 minutes in the evening to get all the negativity out of your system through the written word. If an obsessive thought emerges at any other time, mentally tell yourself now is not the time and continue your day.

Choose Positive Thinking

Whether the thoughts involve, anger, hurt, jealousy or worry, make yourself find something positive about the situation. If having been in an argument, consider how you might have handled the situation better or perhaps mentally list the positive traits of that person. Instead of feeling jealous over a work event or a relationship issue, remind yourself of all your great qualities and turn your energy into making further self-improvements. Make a concentrated effort to put your energy and thoughts into a positive perspective. Worry is a sign that we are subconsciously aware that we are not in control of a current or future circumstance. Recognize that worrying will not change the outcome. Say a prayer. Give the situation up to the universe. Use whatever spiritual method helps bring peace.

Rooted Issues

Sometimes obsessive thoughts have deep roots in something that occurred in our past. Trace the origin of the emotion. After locating the negative incident that underlies current thought processes, dig it out and get rid of it. Think about what you may have learned the first time around and how you probably grew as a person. While our history often makes us who we are now, past negativity need not presently control our lives.

Cite this page: N., Sam M.S., "Stop Obsessive Thoughts," in, February 21, 2016, (accessed December 7, 2022).