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Lorena Duncan’s Blog

I… I… I…. I…. Can’t Get You Out of My Head: The Negative Spiral of Obsessive Thinking

You may or may not be familiar with the song, but when it comes to obsessional thinking it knows what it’s talking about.  Obsessive thoughts, whether about yourself, someone, or something are like a negative spiral.  The more you engage in it, the more difficult it becomes to stop.  This is especially bothersome when it interferes with sleep, work or important relationships.

Obsessive thinking in some ways is a form of trance that is induced by the repetitive pattern of negative thoughts.  Over time, the repetitive thinking reinforces a conditioned pattern in the brain making it all that more difficult to stop the process.  The methods available to stop the spiral are many but require mindfulness in the moment similar to kicking a nail-biting habit.  Some of these methods include thought-stopping techniques, breath work, vigorous exercise, visual or mental distractions, and a host of other options.  I help clients who struggle with obsessional thinking create their own unique recipe of methods that pave the way for re-training the brain.  Just remember that for every minute you are not allowing the conditioned thoughts to take over, is a minute you are getting to sleep, perform at work, and connect with a loved-one.

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