By Stanley Popovich.
There are times when we encounter fearful thoughts that can be difficult to manage. For some people, the more they try to get rid of the thoughts, the stronger the thoughts become and the more difficult they become to manage. If you’re struggling with this, here are some techniques that you can use to help manage your fearful and obsessive thoughts.
Don’t dwell or focus on the fear-provoking thought when it comes. The more you try to reason out the thought or focus on the fear behind the thought, the stronger the thought becomes. The next time you encounter an obsessive thought, get into the practice of not dwelling on it.
Visualize a red stop sign in your mind when you encounter a fear-provoking thought. When the negative thought comes, think of a red stop sign as a reminder to stop focusing on that thought and to think of something else. Then try to think of something positive to replace the negative thought.
Ignore the fear behind the thoughts. Sometimes, you may encounter a lot of scary thoughts coming at them all at once. Instead of getting upset, remember that these thoughts are exaggerated and are not based on reality. From my interviews with various professionals, I’ve learned that usually it is the fear behind the thoughts that gets us worked up. Ignore the fear behind these obsessive thoughts, regardless how the strong the fear may be. If you ignore the fear behind these thoughts, then the thoughts become easier to manage.
Find the source of your fear. Remember that the difference between an obsessive thought and a regular thought is that an obsessive thought is based on fear. With this in mind, try to find the source of the fear behind the thought. Once you find the source of the fear, learn to manage it. If you do, the thought becomes easier to deal with.
Challenge negative thinking. Learn to challenge your negative thinking with positive statements and realistic thinking. When encountering thoughts that make you fearful or depressed, challenge those thoughts by asking yourself questions that will maintain objectivity and common sense.
Stay positive. Keep a small notebook of positive statements that make you feel good. Whenever you come across a positive and uplifting verse that makes you feel good, write it down in a small notebook. Then carry this notebook around in your pocket and whenever you feel anxious, just read your notebook!
Photo credit: Max Elman