How to Overcome Obsessive Thoughts
Courage Starts by Saying “YES”
How to Overcome Obsessive Thoughts
We can talk to ourselves only from our current programming, which is why it’s nearly impossible to talk ourselves out of a mental struggle: we’re using the same framework that caused the problem in the first place. As Michael Alan Singer says, “the problem is not the problem, it is our relationship to the problem that is the problem.” Whatever the recurring fixation in your self-talk patterns, the first step to overcoming it is to listen to how you’re communicating with yourself.
Self-Observation versus Self-Analyzing
Get curious about how your body is reacting and what happens right before the obsessive thoughts take over. When your body is in distress, your thoughts will often match that state. Get off that emotional roller coaster: take a few deep breaths and think back to when and where you feel dis-ease and ease in your mind and body. Develop language to describe it–a technique that some refer to as “name it to tame it.” Once you’ve created some space and conserved some energy by quietly witnessing your reactions rather than jumping into problem-solving or self-defeat, you can take steps to calm your nervous system down.
What changes do you notice in your body as you experience obsessive thoughts?
What sensations accompany these thoughts?
What are you making these thoughts mean?
Acknowledge that your thoughts are habits and not objective truth.
Here’s one of my most effective go-to reminders: 95% of what you think today, you also thought yesterday. Just because your thoughts are familiar and habitual, it doesn’t mean they’re true. Okay: maybe they have little bits of truth to them, but they don’t reflect the whole, complex, expansive truth. Bring some non-duality into your thoughts by reflecting on past struggles and acknowledging how the darkness has brought you more light. Look at the ways your toughest moments taught you strength and resilience. When we teach ourselves to find purpose and growth in our struggles, we can learn to accept and even welcome where we are, rather than shaming ourselves for being there.
What am I learning from this experience?
What have my darkest moments taught me?
Nourish your whole self
Sometimes, our racing thoughts signal that we are lacking some basic nourishment that our mind and body need to function at their best. Imagine that your habits are a 6-ton Elephant, and you’re trying to direct where the Elephant’s going. A malnourished elephant is not an easy partner to work with.
We all know that it’s vital to nourish our body with sleep, movement, fresh air, balanced nutrition and intuitive eating. It’s just as vital to tend to your mental and emotional body with self-inquiry, playfulness, and peace. Obsessive thoughts don’t have much space to grow and flourish when you’re focused on feeding your mind and body what they need.
We all have a story, reasons to patterns and habits. Here Marin McCue’s story, Evolve Retreat Co. Retreat Facilitator. The more we share, the more we support each other on the journey to wellness.
Evolve Retreat Co.
At Evolve, we understand that an integral part of learning and evolving requires a calm and receptive mind. Let our dedicated mindset instructors offer insight into how your mind and body work and how these practices can relieve stress, keep the mind sharp and improve overall well-being. Every Evolve retreat will combine a variety of different approaches to the wisdom of yoga and meditation and share practical tips to help you incorporate them into your daily routine. Have a look at our upcoming retreats to see how you can incorporate these skills into your everyday routine.