When ‘Obsessive Worrying’ Is Cause For Concern
“If an obsessive thought is a cry for help — and it is — bring the help that’s asked for.” – Deepak Chopra.
Everyone deals – occasionally – with thought patterns that spin. They are intrusive and annoying, but otherwise normal; no big deal.
Obsessive racing worrying, when part of an anxiety disorder, can be a different story altogether.
“Your problem is not that you are having intrusive thoughts,” argues Robert L. Leahy Ph.D, “your problem is how you are evaluating them, how you are trying to suppress them, and how you avoid situations that evoke them.”
Then The Problem May Begin
When serious, when unrelenting, obsessive thinking can be highly debilitating.
There’s an urgency about it that’s palpable, almost physical in nature; you want to run from it, smother it. Most of all, you want to survive it.
This is not to mention that, when out of control, obsessive worrying can cause a whole range of side effects. They include: heart palpitations, digestive problems and shallow breathing. Elevated heart rate, insomnia, panic attacks, and loss of appetite. Also: major trouble focusing, or concentrating, to the extent that concentration on regular tasks seems formidable.
Obsessive worrying can take over.
I don’t arrive at this conclusion only from my research, books, the internet or elsewhere.
I’ve been there.
How to Cope
Do not accept, or courageously “wait out” endless patterns of obsessive worrying that do not relent. Do:
- Report your symptoms to your doctor. Don’t sugarcoat your symptoms.
- Talk to a therapist to discuss the worries, and their intensity, in the hopes of demystifying or addressing them.
- Experiment with strenuous exercise (or some form of movement, of at least a 30 minute duration) to raise endorphins and disrupt the thought merry go round.
- Be careful about what you eat and drink. High fat, salt and sugar can exacerbate symptoms. Never forget: food affects mood.
- Get a proper amount of sleep.
- Read all you can about relief options. Start with this.
When You Need Relief – Right NOW
My best recommendation for breaking extreme overthinking, when it feels impossible to bear, is to listen to guided meditations.
Guided meditations restore faith and trust. They induce calm, they offer perspective.
And all you need to do is lie back, listen, and be soothed.
This is not a permanent fix, of course. But having a ‘guide’ there to calm you is a great comfort in a thought emergency, and can lead to longer term resilience against irrational thoughts.
One guided meditation session may not do. You may need to listen to several meditations, or, one long one. If nothing else, you have offered your brain a much needed rest.
Over time, you can build your own ‘library’ of guided mediations that work for you in times of trouble.
Some Favourite Guided Meditations For Over Thinking:
For restoring faith and trust in life: https://youtu.be/FiLKbvhxRvw
For letting go of (irrational) beliefs: https://youtu.be/KfEqviC7rwg
For a reality check about what obsessive thoughts are: https://youtu.be/1vx8iUvfyCY
For when assertiveness and self-compassion is required: https://youtu.be/WLRVFTkP0S0
A Final Thought
Obsessive worrying can obviously be exacerbated when there is an issue in your life that you’re trying to bury, can’t cope with, or are exhausted by.
Can you do something constructive about that problem, rather than worry about it?
Also: make sure you are safeguarding boundaries that promote self-care during this stressful time. For a refresher on that, read this.
In the meantime, if you are caught up in the negative thought whirlwind, do not lose hope.
Being proactive is your way out. Stewing relentlessly in that miasma of negativity is not.