How to prevent a worry from becoming an obsession

How to prevent a worry from becoming an obsession

Obsessive worry rarely helps us, it increases anxiety and the risk of psychological exhaustion. How to avoid reaching these extremes?

Last update: July 05, 2022

How to prevent a worry from becoming an obsession? Some ideas harm us like a woodpecker constantly pecking at the trunk of a tree.

We can't stop thinking about you. We give them value and presence in the mind in a stormy way unable to avoid the flow of thoughts.

The brain is like a factory that never stops and it is enough to say to ourselves “I don't want to think about…” to visualize it. In light of this, how to deactivate the exhausting psychological processes? There are very effective techniques to curb pathological concerns.

We live in a society that uses obsessive worry as a mechanism to cope with any problem. However, the secret is not to "worry too much", but to think right.

Strategies to prevent a worry from becoming an obsession

According to a Swedish proverb, worry has the power to cast large shadows on small objects. And that's right, but how can we not worry if we live in a demanding and uncertain reality?

The truth is that we have the right to worry, but we have to do it correctly, which is to direct mental efforts towards solving what makes us calm.

As Viktor Frankl would say, in the presence of an adverse situation, it is our duty to face it and transform it. If that's not possible, the next step is to accept it.

Something so logical and obvious can only be achieved through a calm, realistic and focused approach. Often, however, it is extremely difficult for us.

Research work conducted at King's College London and the University of Western Australia indicated data that support the idea that much of our concerns are based on cognitive bias. Many people think that worrying equals having or demonstrating more control. On the contrary, when they relax they fear being surprised by the unexpected.

It is time to change these ideas, these prejudices. So let's see how to prevent a worry from becoming an obsession.

1. Understand the mechanism of worry

Concern has a purpose: to increase our activation so that we can act on the threats around us. The ultimate goal is to act and solutions must be devised for this. However, instead of taking action or accepting a concrete reality, we tend to further amplify stressful threats.

We do this through rumination, a persistent and repetitive type of worry that instead of looking for answers to problems, asks more questions. Rumination amplifies negative emotions and discomfort. In this way we fall more and more into the labyrinths of anxiety.

To prevent a worry from becoming an obsession, we must keep in mind that feeding rumination we will be stuck and unable to solve the problem.

Worry, rumination and obsession are the result of the activity of the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex.

2. Accept the obsessive thinking, but don't play its game

We need to be clear about it, phrases like "I won't think about it anymore" or "this will be the last time I think about it" will be of little use to us. Because your mind will always come back to you, like the puppy chasing its ball. Thoughts are automatic and it is not easy to control them.

The ideal is to let them flow, to accept them. Researchers from the University of Hamburg indicate in a study that we should see obsessive thoughts as mental phenomena that come and go.

Like the flow of a raging river. It is therefore convenient not to give them importance or to strengthen them. If there are, let them flow.

3. Don't judge yourself, be compassionate with yourself to prevent a worry from becoming an obsession

The inner dialogue that judges and criticizes us is like the engine that feeds the factory of worries. If we want to prevent a worry from becoming an obsession, we need to be kind and compassionate to ourselves. We have been through a lot in this life, no doubt about it.

We rely on our experience to tackle the challenges we face. Instead of worrying, we address what worries us starting changes, thinking of new formulas for solving problems.

4. Make routine changes that go against obsession

If we are afraid of losing our jobs, we start looking for new options. If we are concerned about what the future might bring, we start new experiences in the present. Making new friends, starting a course, learning something different… All of this is good.

Small daily changes are new stimuli for the mind, in this way we are able to separate it from the focus of obsession and worry.

5. Get out of the obsessive universe and express what we feel

We step out of the mind to immerse ourselves in life. How do you get such a thing? Art in all its shapes and sizes is ideal to prevent a worry from becoming an obsession.

Painting, drawing, sculpting, weaving, sewing, composing, writing… There are multiple possibilities that can help us calm our mind, allow it to go beyond its labyrinth of worries to appreciate life. Each person must find their own medium, their own personal canvas.

6. Let it out to keep a worry from becoming an obsession

Let's not forget to share time with people who know how to listen. Talking about what worries us is also necessary and healthy.

We stop living on our islands of mental solitude in which only anguish grows and let us connect with what surrounds us in an active and hopeful way.

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