Working on the Obsessive Mind:
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From 2002-2009, NBC aired a show called “Monk.” In it, a man named Adrian Monk was able to solve crimes using his attention to detail, which derived from his obsessive-compulsive disorder. In real life, however, obsessive people run into more obstacles than they climb.
An obsessive mind starts as a way of keeping someone aware of possible problems. When healthy, worries can point out things to us that we might not have seen. However, when worries take hold of a person, they can ruin them. This is true even if someone is still functional in society.
Worry and Rumination:
Worry is a sense we all know. It is there to remind us of things we might otherwise miss. However, more often than not, worry makes us irrational. We worry about not locking the house door or leaving the stove on even though we never do. When we indulge in worry, these thoughts become a vicious cycle that has us on edge even in our own homes.
Rumination is a focus on past events. We remember things so that we can learn from them, but when rumination becomes unhealthy, we use our memory to punish ourselves. We rub our noses into past mistakes and never let them go. This mindset will not only deflate us but also make future embarrassments likely.
When worry and rumination reach their peak, we grasp for control. For instance, checking a doorknob we have just locked is an obsessive behavior. We just locked it, of course it’s locked, but some part of the obsessive mind demands extra assurance. Then, when the extra check of the door handle becomes routine, we might have to check it two more times. We might start the process again when we step out of our car and lock it.
Other obsessive behaviors include obsessive hand washing, avoiding cracks in the pavement, and insisting that things be ordered in very specific ways. Some people might do these things and still function in society, but others become so obsessed that they can’t leave the controlled environment of their homes.
You Can’t Just Tell Your Mind to Stop:
According to Cognitive-Behavior-Therapy.com , you can’t just tell your mind to stop worrying or stop being obsessive. As a matter of fact, psychologists have discovered that the attempt to block some thoughts from awareness leads to an equal and opposite reaction in which the very thoughts you’re trying to suppress come swinging back with a vengeance. It’s like when someone tells you not to think of something. You’ll always think of it because they brought it up.
The answer in psychology is to never suppress a thought or action. You can see this when you think about someone trying to diet. The amateur dieter will swear off something like sugar. Doing so fetishizes sugar. They might not consume a single sugar cube for a whole month, but if they have made sugar into a desired, forbidden item, a sugar binge is inevitable.
The dieter will reward themselves with “just one” cookie at lunch one day and be done with whole packages of Twinkies and Oreos by the end of the night.
Overcoming Obsessive Thinking:
You have to learn to live with and cope with an obsessive mind. Work on one worry or one issue at a time. Slowly decrease the number of times you wash your hands per day, or the number of times you jiggle a handle to make sure it’s locked. Dive into the deeper worries and ruminations that started the obsessions and learn better coping mechanisms. Stay with this healing process and seek professional help if necessary.
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