The Answer Is No You Are Not Stuck With It Forever Because There Is An Alternative To Trying To Control Anxiety: Acceptance
Acceptance is the opposite of control. It means allowing yourself to think and feel whatever pops up, even when it is uncomfortable. If trying to control anxious thoughts is the problem, then allowing yourself to think anxious thoughts must be the solution.
This is probably a very different approach from the way youve been doing things. Its probably a very different approach from what people have told you to do before. But it works.
Writing The Thought Out Fast
Your brain hates the idea of forgetting things. It will focus on thoughts over and over again if it’s trying not to forget them, and it will keep you awake at night if it’s worried that you’ll wake up the next day without remembering what you thought about.
The same thing often occurs with strange thoughts. That’s why when you have a weird thought, it’s often a good idea to find a place to write it out somewhere. Don’t worry about what the thought means or what it says about you. Just write it down so that it’s kept in a permanent place. This will reduce some of the impact the thought has on your memory, and possibly make it less likely for the thought to occur again.
Obsessive Thoughts In Other Anxiety Disorders
It’s also possible to develop obsessive thoughts associated with other anxiety disorders. Generally, these will not be quite as severe or overwhelming as the thoughts in OCD, and you’re unlikely to develop compulsions as a result, but there are often some similarities between both disorders. Your psychologist will be the one to diagnose which of the following you have. Some examples of these disorders include:
So, while generally an obsessive thought is considered a problem for those with OCD, it is something that can affect those with other types of anxiety disorders as well.
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Well This Is Just Flat
The truth is that you have no control whatsoever over what thoughts pop into your head and what emotions you feel. And when I say you, I mean everyone. This is not a personal flaw of yours.
If you cant get yourself to just stop worrying about it when you feel anxious, its not that youre doing it wrong. Nor are you weak, crazy, stupid, or irrational.
Remember That This Will Pass
Again, this one might sound very basic or too easy but it helps. Once you realize that these thoughts wont plague you forever, and that youll soon be free from whatever is clouding you, you will find it easier to let these things go and stop fixating.
What tends to happen, mainly with negative thoughts, is that we have a thought, it makes us uncomfortable, we try to dismiss it, we focus on how bad we feel because of it, the thought comes back because we keep focusing on how it made us feel and so on.
This can apply to positive thoughts, but instead of feeling uncomfortable, we feel excited or happy, or it triggers a release of dopamine and we then get hooked into the cycle.
Try to remember that this thought wont plague you for much longer, and youll be able to stop obsessing and thinking about it.
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Examples Of Weird Thoughts
The occasional weird thought doesn’t generally cause that much distress. A problem usually occurs when either the thoughts are getting consistently weirder or they’re becoming obsessions, where you cannot seem to stop thinking these weird thoughts.
Obsessive compulsive disorder is the most common anxiety disorder with “weird” thoughts, although they can occur in other types of anxiety as well. Many of the thoughts in OCD are generic, such as a fear of contamination . But these aren’t necessarily described as “weird” subjectively. They’re irrational, and they’re often distressing, but they’re not weird.
Usually when people start to become concerned over their weird thoughts, it’s because the thoughts have become some type of cultural taboo. For example:
- Thoughts of aggressive, violent, or perverse sexual acts.
- Thoughts of assault or murder, especially when gory.
- Thoughts of religious shame, hell, or Satanism.
It’s important to remember that “weird” is a subjective quality, so what may be weird for one may not be weird for others. Sometimes the thoughts can be truly strange, such as imagining unusual creatures doing unusual things either during dreams or in real life. But the most common strange thoughts are the ones above.
All weird thoughts and obsessions may be a sign of obsessive compulsive disorder. Often, although not always, those with OCD end up creating compulsions in order to stop the thoughts from occurring.
Tip : Interrupt The Worry Cycle
If you worry excessively, it can seem like negative thoughts are running through your head on endless repeat. You may feel like youre spiraling out of control, going crazy, or about to burn out under the weight of all this anxiety. But there are steps you can take right now to interrupt all those anxious thoughts and give yourself a time out from relentless worrying.
Get up and get moving. Exercise is a natural and effective anti-anxiety treatment because it releases endorphins which relieve tension and stress, boost energy, and enhance your sense of well-being. Even more importantly, by really focusing on how your body feels as you move, you can interrupt the constant flow of worries running through your head. Pay attention to the sensation of your feet hitting the ground as you walk, run, or dance, for example, or the rhythm of your breathing, or the feeling of the sun or wind on your skin.
Take a yoga or tai chi class. By focusing your mind on your movements and breathing, practicing yoga or tai chi keeps your attention on the present, helping to clear your mind and lead to a relaxed state.
Practice progressive muscle relaxation. This can help you break the endless loop of worrying by focusing your mind on your body instead of your thoughts. By alternately tensing and then releasing different muscle groups in your body, you release muscle tension in your body. And as your body relaxes, your mind will follow.
Relaxation techniques can change the brain
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What Defines A Weird Thought
The reality is that there are many thoughts that are completely normal – even strange thoughts that make you feel awkward or uncomfortable once in a while. It’s not about the thoughts themselves, it’s about how they impact your life.
If you’re finding that these weird thoughts are causing you significant distress, and often either cause anxiety themselves or occur during periods of anxiety, that’s when an anxiety problem is likely.
How To Stop Overthinking
Thoughts are powerful. Your thoughts become your reality. As Tony says, Whatever you hold in your mind on a consistent basis is exactly what you will experience in your life. This is something that the worlds most successful people realize and the only difference between them and everyone else is that they have learned how to harness the power of thoughts to help them achieve.
This is also good news for those who want to know how to stop overthinking and there are a lot of overthinkers in America, especially among young people.Seventy-three percent of 25- to 35-year-olds overthink, as well as 52 percent of 45- to 55-year-olds.
Youre not alone, and you werent born an overthinker. Overthinking is the result of one fact of human existence: we all have patterns to our behavior. These patterns develop over time based on life experiences. And just as patterns are learned, they can also be unlearned.
The key is to identify whats causing your overthinking, then take decisive action to change your mindset. But that can be easier said than done.
Want to clear your mind of unwanted thoughts?
What is overthinking?
Overthinking a tough decision you have to make can also cause problems. Replaying all the options in your head can lead to paralysis by analysis youre afraid to take the wrong action, so you take no action at all. But even making the wrong decision is better than making no decision.
Why do I overthink?
2. Manage your story
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How Do I Know If I Have Health Anxiety
There are signs and symptoms of the conditions that you can see below.
Signs and symptoms
- Checking and monitoring for potential changes in your body and health
- Googling symptoms, you feel in your body
- Actual physical pain in your body
- Thoughts preoccupied with illness
- Attending doctors to be given a clean bill of health, but not feeling relieved. Scared that they had missed something.
Although classed as an anxiety disorder, illness anxiety disorder shares many characteristics of OCD in terms of obsessions and compulsions, and I want to highlight this below.
How To Stop Thinking And Calm Your Mind
Do you sometimes wish you knew how to stop thinking?
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you think constantly?
- Do your thoughts race nonstop, like the waves on windy day?
- Does too much thinking spoil your focus and distract your attention?
- Are you having difficulties falling asleep at night due to thoughts that keep filling your mind?
- Do you constantly worry?
You can stop thinking and enjoy inner peace and calmness.
You can have control over your thoughts.
I am not saying that you will able to stop thinking completely, but even a partial control of your thoughts is a great achievement.
Most people have no control over their thinking process. For most people it seems impossible to stop thinking. The idea of calming down the mind and halt thinking might seem to them ridiculous and unrealistic.
Thinking is part of life, and though most people feel harassed by thoughts that they prefer to avoid, the idea of finding a way to stop thinking does not even occur to them.
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The Problem With Ruminating
The problem with ruminating is that most often you are focused on things going wrong instead of how to generate the solutions to resolve the situation and make things go right. If your boss got angry with you, you may be ruminating about what you did and worrying that if you do it again there might be serious consequences like losing your job. You might replay the scene with your boss over and over in your head, or worry excessively about what would happen if the worst-case scenario did come to pass. This kind of thinking activates your fight-or-flight response which actually shuts down your creative problem-solving thought process. In order to find the resolution that will allow you to let go of the problem, you need to disengage from the ruminative thought pattern.
Stopping thoughts, however, isnt something we are very good at.
Psychologists refer to this as “the white bear problem,” because deliberate attempts to suppress thoughts can often make them more likely to resurface.1 If I say to think of a white bear, and then tell you to stop thinking about it, chances are the white bear image will stay in your mind. The reason it does is that there is no “Off” button in the brain. To stop any single thought, you need to turn on or activate a different stream of thinking.
Stop Spending Your Time Fighting The Anxiety And The Anxious Thoughts
Let them hang out with you while you go do something else.
Youll find that by taking this non-defensive stance, the anxiety eventually eases up without you doing anything about it. It might take a while, but it will happen. In the meantime, remember that in the short-term, both alternatives involve feeling the anxiety.
In the short-term, its there if you try to get rid of it and its there if you stop trying to get rid of it. So why bother with all that effort? It goes nowhere anyway, so whats the point? Give yourself a break and try accepting the anxiety instead of fighting it.
I see this work for people all the time, and I know it will work for you if you give it a chance.
Interested in learning some of the most common and most effective strategies I teach my clients for dealing with anxiety and worry? Check out my self-help video series, How to Stop Overanalyzing, with over 3 hours of content covering the skills I teach to almost all of my clients in the first 5 therapy sessions.
About Dr. Stein
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How To Stop Thinking About Your Anxiety
If youve ever lamented, I cant stop thinking about my anxiety, take heart. Youre not alone, and theres nothing wrong with you or the way your mind thinks. This is a common complaint among anxiety sufferers. It happens because anxiety is so all-consuming that it pushes itself to the forefront of our thoughts. It doesnt have to stay that way. Keep reading to discover how to stop thinking about your anxiety.
Chances are, if you are frustrated by the fact that you keep thinking about anxiety and your anxiety symptoms, you are aware of your thoughts. Congratulations. Believe it or not, knowing that youre thinking about your anxiety is an important first step in stopping negative thoughts. According to Stephen Hayes , over time, we merge with our thoughts so that they become the center of who we think we are consequently, we start to see the world and ourselves through our thoughts. Our thoughts are our lens for seeing things.
With anxiety so prominent, we naturally think about it seemingly constantly. Knowing that were doing this is an important step as you learn to stop thinking about anxiety. The awareness allows you to proceed to the below tips.
Talk To Someone Friendly
Another very effective technique is to talk to someone you like and trust, especially on the phone. Don’t be shy about your anxiety – tell them you feel anxious and explain what you’re feeling.
Talking to nice, empathetic people keeps your mind off of your symptoms, and the supportive nature of friends and family gives you an added boost of confidence. If you’re suffering from a panic attack, it also helps you feel more confident that if something were wrong, you’d have someone that can watch over you.
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How Worrying Affects Your Body
One of the most insidious parts about worrying is the effect it has on our physical, mental, and emotional health. In fact, over a third of Americans visited a doctor over a stress-related illness in 2018, and many illnesses may be perpetuated by stress. If this sounds like you, its time to learn how to stop worrying.
Along with causing physical symptoms, worry and stress can also make it harder to recover from illness. Here are a few ways worry may be impacting your overall well-being.