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How to avoid losing your nerves in the face of obsessive thoughts?

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It has happened to all of us at some point to have an unpleasant thought that, despite the discomfort it generates, comes to our consciousness again and again automatically, without our having a special interest in thinking about it. it. Normally, these mental contents are memories about things we did that embarrass us, or things that make us feel guilty, or even events that have not taken place, but that we believe can happen to us and get us into serious trouble problems. And of course, it also happens with actions that we know we must carry out sooner or later and that make us suffer from anxiety.

In the most extreme cases and with the greatest capacity to wear us down psychologically, these thoughts invade our consciousness with such often and stay with it for so long that they become full-blown obsessions—ideas, beliefs, and mental images that you don't They make us think of them because of how much they motivate or excite us, but because of the discomfort they cause us, even if it seems contradictory.

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These obsessive thoughts ostensibly influence the daily life of those who harbor them and can affect very negatively to their mental health, not only because they contribute to maintaining levels of anxiety that are too high and/or durable; also for its ability to induce us to interpret anything as a confirmation that what worries us or makes us feel bad is a reality that exists in our present. They predispose us to see "signs" that confirm very pessimistic interpretations of what is happening. So that… How to avoid losing your nerves in the face of obsessive thoughts?

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Characteristics of obsessive thoughts

Obsessive thoughts are those that they appear in our mind in an intrusive way, without us wanting it, and that generate a high degree of discomfort before the possibility that they are true or that they correspond to who we are and what our defects and limitations are.

These thoughts, ideas, opinions and conceptions about life or about our identity are usually of a distressing and pessimistic nature, and although at first we know that it is a mistaken thought and one that does not adjust to reality, it tends to generate a high level of anxiety in the person who houses them, as we fall down that spiral of self-confirming pessimistic hypotheses, we lose the rational vision of what is happening and not only feel that these obsessions are a reflection of reality, but also we believe.

Some people experience these obsessive thoughts almost permanently; even when they don't keep their attentional focus on thinking about it, dThese mental contents remain in a latent state and have a great capacity to be "activated" for any stimulus that we minimally associate with that theme. These usually give rise to a vicious circle known as psychological rumination and, as it gets bigger, it is more difficult to face.

Avoid losing your temper in the face of obsessive thoughts

Obsessive thoughts are usually based on ideas related to our own health or that of our loved ones, losing our status current social or socioeconomic situation, or with pessimistic predictions and premonitions about the standards of living that await us in the not so far.

Some of these obsessive thoughts can be: “I am going to fail the entrance exam”, “I am useless and nothing it works out for me”, “And if I hurt my family or my children?”, “my partner is going to leave me” or “everyone hate”.

All these obsessive thoughts of a negative nature they generate deep discomfort and interfere directly in the daily life of the person: in its normal functioning both in the personal and social, family or work spheres and also in their mental health in the medium and long term, and even facilitate the appearance of disorders such as addictions.

That is why it is so important to overcome these types of obsessive thoughts with the help of a professional psychologist.

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What is a ruminant thought?

When an obsessive thought is repeated several times in a person's mind, it produces a dynamic known as psychological rumination; the person begins to constantly dwell on the same negative idea, which ends up generating greater discomfort, anxiety and suffering.

The thoughts that are involved in rumination appear intrusively and disruptively in the mind of the affected person, They also generate great concern and discomfort, and the most important thing is that they are repeated repeatedly without us being able to do anything. to stop them immediately or get them out of your head at the time as most people would want in a situation So.

Psychological rumination owes its name precisely to the fact that repeat itself over and over again in consciousness, to the point where the affected person begins to anticipate these negative thoughts and attract them to their consciousness without realizing it. That is, involuntarily, we actively participate in rumination bringing obsessive thoughts to our minds. The person unconsciously contributes to these contents continuing to invade her mind in the form of a vicious circle: they are given more importance than they have simply because we can't stop thinking about them and that frustration makes us "go on the defensive" and be alert.

The mere attempt to block obsessive thoughts will make them return to us with more force, since we are more and more predisposed to unconscious way that the thought in question floods us before any stimulus or memory indirectly related to what worries.

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Tips for not losing your temper in the face of obsessive thoughts

Luckily, there are some strategies we can follow to prevent these thoughts from controlling us and causing us unnecessary anxiety and suffering.

1. Do not try to block or avoid them

One of the first pieces of advice is, as we have seen, not to try to block or avoid them, since we will only make them appear with greater intensity and frequency.

To prevent obsessive thoughts from causing us to fall into a spiral of anxiety, stress and discomfort, we must begin to conceive the idea that these thoughts are ours, we must accept that they are there because we have created them and that fighting against them and obsessing over them so that they disappear will be Useless.

2. refocus our attention

Once its nature is accepted, we must begin to apply strategies that allow us to guide and channel our attention towards ideas and experiences. that generate interest, make us feel good about ourselves and allow us to focus on aspects of life that are more uplifting and meaningful to us. us.

Transferring all our attention and thought towards more positive ideas, projects and conceptions about the world around us, we will achieve a genuine motivation for what interests us and makes us happy; in short, in things in which we can progress and get excited. And based on the fact that these activities excite us and tell us about who we are and what we want, we will gradually develop a way of interpret life more nuanced and less likely to fall into the pessimistic self-confirmation bias that is associated with thoughts obsessive

Once we have internalized and mechanized this new, more constructive way of thinking, the obsessive thoughts that we harbored will progressively weaken; so to speak, they will lack space to expand by capitalizing on our fears and insecurities.

3. Training in relaxation techniques

Relaxation techniques can also be of great support, not so much to overcome obsessive thoughts that cause us discomfort on a day-to-day basis, but to mitigate anxiety-related symptoms.

There are many techniques that we can put into practice to achieve more relaxed and balanced states of consciousness: progressive muscle relaxation, controlled breathing, body scanner, etc.

  • You may be interested: "7 easy relaxation techniques to combat stress"

5. go to the psychologist

Going to a psychology professional will always be the best option if you want to overcome obsessive thoughts and regain the tranquility and mental stability that you had before they appeared. In this way, you will have personalized support adapted to your characteristics and needs. If you are interested in starting a psychotherapy process, contact me.

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