How To Stop Obsessive Thoughts

by Mark Ivar Myhre on August 14, 2007

If you want to learn how to stop obsessive thoughts, the first step involves understanding exactly what’s happening to you right now. It’s like you’re spinning on a hamster wheel. Like a treadmill that just runs in circles without ever getting anywhere.

Why? Because you lack TRACTION. You spin because there’s nothing to grab hold of. I know; it’s obvious. But it’s important to really let it in: you lack traction. That’s why you can’t stop the obsessive thoughts.

Fortunately, you can easily gain the traction you need to end those thoughts. You can end the obsession with unwanted thoughts by following a few simple steps.

Years ago, as I studied the finer points of riding a bicycle, I learned a simple but profound truth: the bicycle usually follows the eyes. The bicycle follows the path I choose to focus on, on the road ahead of me.



If there’s a pothole up ahead, and I keep staring at it; I’m liable to end up riding right through it. Not good. (But since we tend to shift our gaze away from the pothole, we miss it.) The bike follows the path we gaze upon.

Same here. When you have obsessive thoughts, it’s like you’re staring at that pothole and you can’t stop staring. It’s like a deer frozen by the headlights of a car. You just can’t stop.

Again, I know; it’s obvious.

You’re thinking about something because you HAVE to think about it. You have to think about it because you ARE thinking about it. A catch-22. Can’t stop… can’t stop… can’t stop… those obsessive thoughts. Spinning away on a hamster wheel…

So where lies the traction? With your FEELINGS. Because what happens when you’re thinking your obsessive thoughts? You are NOT in touch with your true feelings. Your TRUE feelings.

Oh, you might be feeling something. Most likely, though, what you feel lacks realness.



Take blame, for example. Blame lubricates the hamster wheel. You can blame all day long and not move ahead one inch. True feelings – REAL feelings – give you something to push off from. Blame gives you nothing. It only takes.

Or how about righteousness? If you have the ‘right’ to be angry (and when you think about it, WHO DOESN’T?!!) you will sit and spin for days, weeks, years. The price you pay for righteousness: you must keep thinking the same thoughts over and over and over. Obsessing. Because you really are ‘right’.

Look, everybody thinks they’re right. It’s not a question of who’s really right. No. Here’s the true question: do you want to learn how to stop obsessive thoughts, or don’t you?

Which holds greater value? Peace of mind; happiness; resolution; balance; realness?

Or spinning in righteousness; blame; pity; avoiding responsibility?

If you’re truly ready to stop the obsessive thoughts, here’s how to do it: First, write down those obsessive thoughts on paper. It probably won’t take more than a sentence or two. Maybe a paragraph. Then, DIG DEEPLY into what those thoughts make you feel.

It always starts with righteousness or blame or pity or judgments or something similar. That’s fine. Whichever lubricant comes up – write it down.

“It really is their fault!”

“I really am right!”

“I am such an idiot!”

Whatever. And then recognize: this is the lubricant that won’t let me stop those obsessive thoughts.

Next, gut-check time. Which holds greater importance? Going deeper into the realness; the real feelings underneath? Or obsessing over this little statement I just wrote down?

It’s not a question of who’s right. It’s not a function of who’s to blame. It’s not a matter of judging yourself or others harshly. The real question: what’s more important to you?

You can always dig deeper and deeper into your TRUE feelings if you want to. You can feel without the slimy lubrication. Simply focus on your HEART instead of your HEAD. Stop looking at the pothole in your head. Change your focus.

Imagine a hamster wheel spinning in your head. See it spinning and spinning away. Think the agonizing, obsessive thoughts. Then imagine it slowly turns into a sphere of light. Let it slowly sink down to the middle of your body. Feel it sinking down through your head, into your neck, then into your chest and then maybe all the way to your stomach or where ever feels right to you.

Let it becomes a gyroscope, if you absolutely must have motion!



Focus on either the gyroscope or the sphere of light in the middle of your body instead of the hamster wheel in your head. Repeat this little exercise whenever you feel the obsessive thoughts coming back.

Seek out the feelings that come from your BODY. Not the so-called feelings that come out of your head. Focus on your body. And stop focusing all your attention in your head.

All the while, taking the time to write things down. And FEEL what those statements feel like… not THINK what they feel like! That’s the key to gaining traction. Get out of your head and into your body.

That’s the key to truly learning how to stop obsessive thoughts: focus on the feelings that you feel in your body.

all the best,

Mark

Mark Ivar Myhre
The Emotional Healing Coach
Want to talk about it? Click here
Uh, you are on my email list, right? If not, Click Here right away to get connected to all kinds of cool stuff.




AddThis Social Bookmark Button

AddThis Feed Button

Bookmark & Share

Please rate this page by clicking on one of the links below.

Facebook comments:

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

marta August 26, 2007 at 5:38 pm

thank you! I always read everything you send me. As you know resently I had a brother that past away pretty much due to depression. Tha's how I started doing reaserch. To try to help him, and myself. I do regret not having had the money to purchase your 3 min depression cure, but I am glad that it exist. At least there is a hope.I hope you still sell it, in case I might be able to afford it soon.But really, thanks, your audio and writings give me hope!
marta

Reply

ivar August 28, 2007 at 8:12 pm

I can assure you I DON'T have a 3 minute depression cure.

That's someone else.

And if you're thinking of purchasing that product, I strongly suggest you research it on a few depression forums before you buy.

I'm starting a new site on depression, but it doesn't cost any money. It's at handle-depression.com

Reply

Anonymous February 29, 2008 at 9:02 pm

I am very confident that many hubpages are just a marketing ruse by the guy selling the $97 audio CD about a 3 min cure for depression. Look how well thought out the tags are. Check the last PPS about half an hour to help others. It's on all the "JR_King" hubpages.

It doesn't work for most people but the guy apparently does honour the money back guarantee

Reply

Ditch October 27, 2008 at 9:36 pm

I stopped at 'traction'.

Blow your smoke somewhere else.

Reply

Linda December 5, 2008 at 1:53 am

The words are great. I think traction is a good way for me to look at it. I like the mini meditation and will use it myself and teach it in my classes. Tools are good to have for what ever degree ones mind is spinning.
Thank You!

Reply

Anonymous December 28, 2008 at 12:10 pm

thanks! These are really good tips. I've done a lot of research about this for myself, and I really relate to what you said about feelings and traction. I've found that when I'm having an obsessive thought, and I write it all out and dig deeper into what I'm feeling, the real emotions of fear and sadness are released, and I can move on for awhile. Thanks again.

Reply

Anonymous January 15, 2009 at 12:55 pm

Thanks alot mate, that really helped. Im a 15 year old kid from England and sometimes I think horrible thoughts that I don't mean and feel guilty and depressed about them afterwards. Things like "I want my mum to die" and stuff like that which makes me obsess about these thoughts and go round and round in circles analysing them. When a horrible thought pops into my head, what should I do? Jack.

Reply

Dazzled Beader Designs June 4, 2009 at 6:08 pm

Good to know I'm not the only one.

-Melissa
http://dazzledbeader.blogspot.com

Reply

Anonymous September 18, 2009 at 11:49 am

Thanks for this. I only realized a few days back that my tendency to dwell on negative things, or think negative thoughts, might be a form of obsessive thinking. Though I've long been aware that I might suffer mildly from depression and low self-esteem, I think there's some degree of obsessing on things as well. Anyway, I stumbled across this doing some research online, and so far this has been the most helpful thing that I've read. Thanks so much.

Reply

andrea December 12, 2009 at 8:17 pm

it feels good to know that im not alone. i’ve been freaking out because i have obsessive thoughts such as ‘im dead’ or that im crazy. and it really is affecting every aspect of my life and making me go into a deeper depression than ever

Reply

anonymouse girl January 6, 2010 at 9:48 pm

I have been having obsessive thoughts about people I don’t like and it makes me feel anxious!
I hate this I used to not have this makes me feel horrible I wish it would just end and forget about the ppl I hate grr ..thanks this helped a bit .

Reply

Michelle May 21, 2010 at 2:17 pm

omg i am having the EXACT same thing! i keep thinking about people who i don’t like, it’s been 5 days of NONSTOP thinking about one single person and it’s so embarrassing i can’t tell anyone who. don’t know how to stop it and i’m miserable and scared that the person will never leave my mind. please help me! there’s nothing i can do to make it go away! how do i make this go away! IT WONT GO AWAY!

Reply

misha June 6, 2010 at 6:32 pm

well ihave been having this for a year and half now so i guess u should go see a doctor and hopefully it will be lessen if it is not gone but iwant to ask u guys do u have any bad dreams going on not only about them but in general ??

Reply

bobby richardson April 28, 2010 at 11:28 am

where does one find hope:where does it come from,where and how does one reconize it when it does show up then what shall i do with it hope is it only a word ?or is it something that sustaines a life hope is it something that i can see hope is it something that i belivein ,hope is it a gift from God? this present state of mind what i feel what i know , what i say,what i do, and how i live i hope that i am living right! only time can tell if i will endure lifes tests the reason to exist the purpose i have been born to live and the answer that i hope to find ,is hope the finial destiny the finial conclusion i will experience upon leaving this body,i hope that this path that i am on will lead me back home to paridise the place where i came from in my heavenly fathers mind,home my only hope which is so divine hope is Gods way to guide us through jesus christ through faith in Gods word hope in the truth the way and the life hope…………………………..

Reply

Mamaweird June 23, 2010 at 4:09 pm

I also like this. I hate my self sometimes because I can’t stop thinking that I don’t want to do. I am scared of being a criminal or a molester, a lesbian things that in my heart I don’t want but my brain couldn’t stop sometimes cause sometimes I think, what if I will become like this and like and it just makes me depress. sometimes when I feel like this I just wish am dead. I hate it. That’s why I am so happy that there is God he gives me relief from this feeling. I was listening to the music “be thou my vision o lord orf my heart…. and your my best thought day and night” so I know that the best thought on my mind that I am not this things that I am scared I will become. Thats God and God doesn’t lie at me only satan does. Satan lies at us he doesnt want us too feel good. We only feel ggo if we listen to Jesus when we listen to the positive thats the best thought in our mind. and that is Jesus. pray over that negative thoughts tell God that satan is no power to hurt you and lie at you because you have God that is more stronger than anybody than anything in the world that will conquer the evil. We will just pray for each other. Amen

Reply

Mamaweird June 23, 2010 at 4:18 pm

also felt like this sometimes. I hated my self because I can’t stop thinking about things that I don’t want to do. I am scared of thought of being a murderer or a molester or lesbian things that in my heart I don’t want to become, but my brain sometimes couldn’t stop thinking and it just makes me depress. sometimes when I am feeling like this I just wish am dead cause all I want in my life is to be a good person I am scared that I will have a negative thought that lead into become bad person. I hate it. That’s why I am so happy that I know God he gives me relief from this crap feeling from my obsess thought. I was listening to the music “be thou my vision o lord of my heart…. and your my best thought day and night” so I know that the best thought on my mind is God, God knows that I am bad it just happen that I am just obsses sometimes. Thats God and God doesn’t lie at me only satan does. Satan lies at us he doesnt want us too feel good. We only feel good if we listen to Jesus when we listen to the positive that’s the best thought in our mind ( I am not like that). and that is Jesus. pray over that negative thoughts tell God that satan is no power to hurt you and lie at you because you have God that is more stronger than anybody than anything in the world that will conquer the evil. We will just pray for each other. Amen

Reply

BettyB June 15, 2011 at 9:17 am

Obsessive thoughts torture me. I seem to go through cycles that can last months and always bring me horrible heartache and despair when I go through them. They seem to be coming more often now that I’m getting older.

I usually obsess over a person and fancy myself in love–no matter how unrealistic it is This time, it’s Patrick Swayze–yes a dead man. I saw him in North and South several weeks ago and haven’t been able to get over him. I feel like I’m grieving over his death. I spend endless hours researching him, gathering photos of him, and fantasizing about him.

Usually, however, it’s someone I know in life. Once it was a doctor who flirted with me. Another time it was an ex-boss who abused me years ago. I woke up one day and fancied myself in love with him. I contacted him, and he abused me again. The obsession/grief from that lasted for more than a year.

The first one happened when I was only 12-years old when I obsessed over a boy I met at the park. I went back every day for years, hoping to see him again.

Sometime Prozac brings it under control if it’s caught early in the cycle. It’s definitely a form of OCD and bipolar depression. I don’t believe it’s in my will to stop it when I go through these cycles. Luckily, I’ve never acted on these obsessions–except to contact the abusive boss. I do recognize that they’re illogical but can’t stop doing it.

Reply

Shais Anees January 14, 2012 at 10:33 pm

Hi,

I have obsessive thoughts where I can’t stop stare at people from outside my eye corners. I can’t help it and people notice that I stare at them. I can’t sit in the car, in the classroom or be near any one without staring at them. It’s not that I turn my head at them and stare at them, no, I don’t turn my head but look from outside the eye corners or peripheral.

Because of this OCD staring issue I have stoped school and now also work as I can’t be near anyone without hurting and disturbing people as people reacht when I stare at them.

I have been to hospital as suicidable due to this as the life and all this doesn’t make sense. But now I feel better due to medications. Right now I am awaiting proper treatment.

But I want to find people suffering from the same so we can share experience and help each other. It’s nice to know that you are not alone.

So please feel free to write to me at: shais (AT) hotmail.dk

Or find me at Facebook: My name is ‘Shais Anees’, thank you :)

Reply

Mark Ivar Myhre January 15, 2012 at 9:22 am

HI Shais,

good luck with what you’re going through.

I changed you email a little bit so the spam bots (hopefully!) won’t get it. I’ve seen what can happen when you put your email address online.

Anyway, you might want to put up a blog, too, about this. I would imagine a lot of people would read it.

Reply

Jack Norris December 2, 2012 at 11:03 am

No offense but I disagree with the dichotomy that there must be a “war” against “bad” thoughts.

““It really is their fault!”

“I really am right!”

“I am such an idiot!”

Sometimes, you must acknowledge right on wrong using the socratic method and the universal principle of “don’t start conflicts, and don’t be a doormat”. If you start a conflict, yes, you DO say “that was ‘idiotic’ of me”, and you move on. “an idiot” may be a bit much as that type of self-pity does nothing.

You must also acknowledge when you are right, sometimes even plan how you are going to arrange your words when trying to prove your innocence. “Righteousness” is not the problem unless you are using faulty logic to ascertain your righteousness, obsessive thoughts are the problem.

And sometimes you will be seen as guilty anyways, and ostrasized. It happens. You may sigh, even pound your fist on the mattress…then you move on. You must address your problems, so you may ask yourself, “how can I move on?” and in the mean time, taking out your trash or washing the dishes is a great excuse to escape, anything healthy. Take time to think about your problems logically when the need arises rather than fighting a “war” against “bad” thoughts.

I find the greatest way is to accept my feelings as they come along, and passively let go of obsessive thoughts rather than “fighting” them.

Have you ever thought about it logically? Just a few minutes can make a huge difference. Extreme traumas are of course physical problems.

Reply

Anonymous March 26, 2013 at 4:07 pm

Great article! I felt a total weight off my “head”. . It made me feel relieved. Just by reading this, it took my mind off of a lot of obsessive thoughts.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

Previous post:

Next post: