Want to know how to stop obsessing? Are dark and intrusive thoughts ruining your life? This blog post will teach you how to stop obsessive thinking and get rid of unwanted thoughts for GOOD.
Today, I want to talk to you about an anxiety symptom that’s very, very close to my heart. It is a symptom that I have experienced personally myself and let me tell you, it’s utterly, utterly terrifying.
The symptom is called obsession and the type of obsessing that I’m talking about is not the ritualistic routine-type of obsession like you have to switch light switches off and on a certain amount of times or you can’t stop thinking that you left the iron on.
Obsessing over dark, scary and intrusive thoughts
The type of obsession that I’m talking about are those really, really super dark thoughts.
The thoughts that are absolutely terrifying. The thoughts where you think you might be capable of losing control and doing something really, really terrible. That’s the type of obsession that I’m talking about.
And if you’re a woman who experiences periods of these exceedingly dark, obsessive thoughts, you’re certainly not alone. I’d experienced them myself and I’ve used this three-step technique to calm myself when I’m experiencing these horrible intrusive thoughts and just gained control again over my mind and what I’m thinking.
Step 1: Understand that resistance is fuelling these thoughts – the more you fight, the more you feed them.
The thing that is making these obsessing thoughts so terrifying, so strong and so scary is resistance.
Let me explain that for you.
We get millions and millions of thoughts that flood our brain every single day.
Thoughts go in, thoughts go out.
A lot pass by unnoticed by us.
When you’re an anxious person, you are on the lookout, high alert for threats, threatening thoughts.
What thoughts are going to threaten me?
What’s a danger?
So these thoughts come in, violent thoughts, scary thoughts, thoughts you might lose control, thoughts that you could get violent or overly sexual inappropriately in a situation, those sort of thoughts, they come into everyone’s brains all day and most of the time, they pass by unnoticed because the non-anxious brain can filter those as ridiculous, not going to happen.
“Yeah, not going to happen, that’s silly. Not even worth my conscious effort.”
For us as anxious women, those sorts of thoughts come in, our brain goes, “Alert! That’s a threat! That’s a threat!”
And so, what we try to do, then, is go into problem solving.
That problem solving part of our mind opens up and we start looking for a solution.
“What can I do to stop this really scary horrible thought taking over? What can I do to stop myself from losing control?”
And what do we do when we want to not lose control? We hang on even tighter.
And that’s what resistance is. Resistance is when you can’t get your mind off a really scary intrusive thought because you’re just so busy in your background, in your subconscious, trying to think of the solution for it, trying to get this thought to go away, trying to make it stop being a threat and the whole body tenses up. But that just fuels the anxiety.
So, understanding that it’s resistance that’s actually fueling those obsessing thoughts is absolutely vital and key to beating the intrusive thoughts.
Step two: Make your body super-relaxed and leaning into the unwanted thoughts – let them pass through and by you
The way that you beat the resistance is to make your body super relaxed.
So, intrusive thought comes in and you notice that it’s there and you notice how it’s making you feel and of course, it’s scary and bewildering and unwanted and you just want it to go but you just kind of relax into it and you go, “Oh yeah, hello. You’re back. My old obsession, back again, righto.”
And you just relax your shoulders, completely relax your body and kind of lean into it.
Instead of trying to back away and push it away which so many people do, don’t ever push it away.
Relax, lean into it and just allow the obsessing to be there.
And of course, many people say to me, “Eva, if I just relax into it and lean into it, what does that mean? Am I going to act on it? Am I going to lose control?”
The answer to that is no, absolutely not.
By relaxing and leaning into it, you actually do the opposite of that.
You regain control because you are starving that obsession at its food source.
When you try desperately to regain control, all you’re doing is increasing that resistance that fuels that obsessing that makes it go round and round.
You need to break the cycle somewhere and the way to break that cycle is to relax and lean into it.
Trust me on this, it works.
Step three: Every time an obsessing or unwanted thought crops up, greet it with the same relaxed acceptance. Over and over until your sensitised reaction calms down. Stop wishing it away.
Step three is that every time one of these anxious and obsessing thoughts crops up, you just have to meet it with that same relaxed reaction and by doing this over time, you actually retrain your body and your mind and your energy field to greet every obsessive, intrusive thought in this way so that your sensitized reaction to that obsessive thought lessens and the obsessive thought doesn’t become so obsessive.
Your mind learns that these thoughts, they come in, they’re not a threat because you’re not reacting to it in a sensitized stressed way.
You relax towards it and so that thought is free to float through you and it’s free to be released.
And so you just keep doing this as long as it takes.
You become really, really patient and really, really kind to yourself.
Self-compassion is really important here.
You’re not a bad person for having these intrusive unwanted thoughts.
I know they bring up a lot of fear and a lot of guilt and that’s part of the reason why you try to push them away because you are a good person.
In fact, the anxious person views these thoughts as such a threat and will do anything to push them away.
That’s what your brain is actually doing.
It’s actually trying to stop these thoughts and move them away.
But because anxiety feeds on the resistance, it just becomes stronger and loops back around, wearing a deeper and deeper groove every time.
So stop wishing these thoughts away. Simply relax your body, lean into them and just repeat that as long as it takes with every obsessive intrusive thought and allow them to fall away at their own accord.
Two excellent meditations to listen to when you are dealing with obsessive thoughts are my grounding meditation, as well as my white light protection meditation. They are both available for free download in my Free Guided Meditations for Anxiety MP3 Library.
Love + light,