How To Stop Obsessive Thoughts

The Truth About Obsessive Scary Thinking

Learning how to stop obsessive thoughts (obsessive scary thinking) will take some determination and patience on your part. If you are consistant with applying the information given here, exercising it daily, you will be able to break this cycle. Obsessive thinking and intrusive thoughts are major symptoms for many people who suffer with an anxiety disorder. Obsessive thinking usually involves scary, intrusive thoughts, and/or images that are not always followed by compulsions. Some consider this to be similar to Obsessive Compulsiver Disorder but without the compulsions. Obsessive-Scary thoughts are considered by many to be one of the most tormenting symptoms of anxiety to overcome. Thoughts ruminate over and over and the more the sufferer tries to stop thinking them the more they persist. Thoughts may be repulsive, scary, vulgar, or anything that the sufferer feels is inappropriate. Because these thoughts are unwanted, it creates an enormous amount of anxiety trying to get rid of them.

Obsessive Intrusive Thoughts are defined as unwelcome, involuntary thoughts, images or unpleasant ideas that may become obsessions, are upsetting or distressing, and can be difficult to be free of and manage. Intrusive thoughts, and images are usually of inappropriate things at inappropriate times, usually falling into three categories: inappropriate aggressive thoughts, inappropriate sexual thoughts, or blasphemous religious thoughts. Most people experience these types of thoughts; however, when they are associated with an anxiety disorder such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, they may become paralyzing, panic-provoking, and persistent.

Breaking the cycle of obsessive thinking is not easy, but, it can be done with a determined attitude, repetitious self-talk, and guided visualization methods. People with anxiety and/or depressive disorders often suffer with repetitive scary, uncomfortable, racing, thoughts. With obsessive thinking, exhausted minds will hold onto thoughts that seem scary, unnatural, or obscene. In the attempt to rid yourself of these thoughts, they just persists even more. Obsessive thinking makes a person feel like they are not in control of their own thoughts and people have also believed the lie that they are somehow losing their minds and may actually carry out the scary thoughts they think or imagine. Believing these lies only result in more anxiety, therefore, the cycle continues no matter how hard a person tries.

Break The Cycle of Obsessive, Scary Thoughts


Find times throughout the day where you can sit comfortably and visualize your scary thoughts in a more less threatening way. You can use humor or stupidity to downplay those thoughts to less frightening thoughts. Whenever the thought pops into your head throughout the day, remember your NEW visual and take the time to picture them differently.

Positive Self-Talk

Use self-talk that reassures you that you would never carry out the thoughts you think. How do you know this? Well, because the thought alone scares you. The fear of doing something you do not want to do is assurance that you wont. You have the power to DO or NOT DO anything you want. Remind yourself that it is okay that those thoughts are there. Do not resist them, instead, accept them as just thoughts and nothing more. They cannot hurt you or make you do anything you do not want to do.

Shrink the Chatter Box!

See your obsessive thinking as nothing more than thoughts. These thoughts are nothing but a loud chatter box that never shuts up and the more it irritates you, the stronger and louder it gets. Realize that you can shrink the chatter box simply by accepting that it is there and downsizing the importance of what it is saying. The better you get at doing this, the more you will realize that your repetitive thoughts fade into the background and become less threatening and important to you. Acknowlege they are there, but do not give them any importance.

Thought Stopping

Thought stopping is a technique that is highly effective when used alone or when used in conjunction with the other steps listed here. Thought Stopping will help you control your obsessive scary thoughts and can even help you prevent future panic episodes. It is effective whenever you find your thoughts are negative and self-sabotaging. As you know, thoughts that are not based on truth, are based solely on imagination. It is time for you to take full responsibility for how you feel, so, do not create imaginations based on untruths. Your brain has no other job but to believe what you tell it. So if you are believing every thought that comes into your mind, you are creating a world that is not true. It is important when using thought stopping to change your focus once you become aware of unproductive thinking. You must break the negative pattern immediately and you must do it each time the thoughts come. Thought stopping is something that takes a lot of practice. Since we are creatures of habit, those unproductive thoughts can be very persistent. Therefore, you must practice thought stopping in order to master it.

Ideas for Thought Stopping

  • Wear a rubber band around your wrist. Obviously, one that is not too tight but fits comfortably. Each time you recognize unproductive, negative thoughts (especially ones leading to panic), lightly snap the band and then replace those thoughts with positive, truthful thoughts. This method is very effective when you are out in public situations. It is very discreet and most people will not even realize what you are doing.

  • Abruptly change your focus to something else. If you are sitting, stand abruptly. By standing, you are involving the body and by refocusing your thoughts you are using your mind. This method is best used when at home but is not practical for public situations. And, if you are already standing, then move around or even sit - by interupting and refocusing on something else you give yourself a fresh start.

  • Of course, there are other ways to stop those thoughts and break negative patterns of thinking. It is not uncommon for people to think that it will not work for them, but, if you work hard, you can feel comfortable again in your own mind. Some people need the aid of a therapist, coach, or even medication and this is completely acceptable. Do not be afraid of talking to your doctor. This is what they are there for! It is important that you use a technique that you feel comfortable with. If you have a different technique that works for you, and would like to add it here to share it with others, please let us know! Thanks in advance for your contribution! It is important to note that all people experience random thoughts on a regular basis. They are just random thoughts that dont really mean much of anything. These thoughts just naturally come in and go out. The problem with the "already anxious person" is that they are more sensitive and hyper-aware of these thoughts. So, when they notice a thought that is scary and unwanted, instead of letting it go and dismissing it, they pull it aside and pick it apart trying to analyze WHY they are having it. Instead of letting it go and dismissing it for the very fact that it has no importance, they dissect it looking for reasons.

    Helpful Tips for Obsessive Thinking

    Journal Your Experience.

    As you work on using your self-help methods for overcoming your obsessive thinking, it's important to journal your experience as you go. Since self-help methods vary and you may be trying different things, through journaling you are able to look back to remember what has helped you the most. CLICK HERE for tips on getting the most out of your journaling.

    Medication or Natural Remedies?

    If you think you might need some extra help with your physical symptoms while you work your self-help methods, you may want to consider using the aid of a prescription medication or natural supplement. If medication is the route you want to take, then its time to consult your physician about choosing a medication thats right for you. However, if you prefer to take a more natural route, there are some really great options available that can help with your physical symptoms of anxiety. Many people prefer trying natural supplements for their anxiety prior to using conventional medication. To learn more, please visit Best Natural Medicine for Anxiety.

    You Dont Have To Do It Alone

    Consider attending a self-help group. Group meetings can help you stay focused and working hard towards your goal. For many people, overcoming anxiety and anxiety related issues are difficult to maintain by yourself. Unless you are very disciplined and manage well on your own, it is recommended that you attend a Self-Help Group Meeting. If you are having a hard time finding a group near you, Recovery International offers many non-profit meetings and chances are good you will find one near you. You can even attend meetings online.

    Educate Yourself!

    Educate yourself daily through reading and personal research. The more you educate yourself, the more likely you will remind and encourage yourself to do the right things. There is a lot to be said about reaffirming what you already know, especially when it comes to anxiety disorders. Repetition is a wonderful thing!

    Recommended Reading

    A helpful book in regards to obsessive thinking is called The Imp of the Mind: Exploring the Silent Epidemic of Obsessive Bad Thoughts by Lee Baer, Ph.D. This particular book focuses primarily on obsessive/intrusive thoughts and less on compulsions found in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Since many of us experience scary/repetitive thoughts, this book is best suited for the person who does not have compulsions but mainly obsessive scary thoughts.

    Overcoming Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts: A CBT-Based Guide to Getting over Frightening, Obsessive, or Disturbing Thoughts by Sally M. Winston PsyD (Author), Martin N. Seif PhD (Author) - "If you suffer from unwanted, intrusive, frightening, or even disturbing thoughts, you might worry about what these thoughts mean about you. Thoughts can seem like messages - are they trying to tell you something? But the truth is that they are just thoughts, and don’t necessarily mean anything. Sane and good people have them. If you are someone who is plagued by thoughts you don’t want - thoughts that scare you, or thoughts you can’t tell anyone about - this book may change your life."

    Don't Believe Everything You Think: Why Your Thinking Is the Beginning & End of Suffering by Joseph Nguyen (Author, Narrator, Publisher) - Learn how to overcome anxiety, self-doubt, and self-sabotage without needing to rely on motivation or willpower

    When All Else Fails...

    If self-help methods dont seem to be working well for you, it may be time to get yourself into some professional therapy. Unfortunately, many people avoid therapy because of the stigma attached to mental health problems. Please understand that anxiety and the issues that come with anxiety are highly treatable and very common, also. There is no reason to continue suffering with something like this especially when there is real help available. If you have tried everything on your own and are still suffering PLEASE seek help today! You deserve to live the best life possible. You owe it to yourself and those that love and care about you.

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