How to Deal With Obsessive Thoughts

It is very common for unwanted, disturbing thoughts to pop into our heads but it becomes challenging if we allow those thoughts to linger. We can’t assume that these thoughts can be stopped completely, but we can learn how to deal with them and not allow them to take over our minds. Our thoughts can impact our everyday life. When we begin to take these thoughts literally, they can lead to stress, anxiety and may even be harmful to our overall well-being.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, obsessive thoughts might take the form of negative self-talk (e.g., ”I’m not good enough”) to worry over small details (e.g., ”I forgot to lock the door”) to scarier thoughts, such as falling fatally ill (e.g., ”What if I have cancer?”) or hurting loved ones.

Recognize them

Have you noticed some patterns that disrupt your daily life? What are those thoughts that suddenly creep into your mind? There is a need to identify what these are. Take note of certain behaviors that come along with these thoughts. Habits like biting your nails may be connected to some obsessive thoughts.

Write them down

When these thoughts are identified, write them down. This will help you understand and deal with them better. Examine them and understand what triggers these thoughts. Figure out what the root cause of these obsessions. Don’t try to avoid them, but deal with them immediately.


Remind yourself that they are just thoughts. Be realistic about what you can and can’t control. If you are suddenly worried about the next 5 years, ask yourself, “Can you do anything to fix it now?” If you can, then take the necessary steps. If not, then accept that and move on.

Be Present

Obsessive thoughts can make you focus on the negative and miss out on the present. These thoughts can lead you to create false stories and you may end up spending a lot of time living in the past. Focusing and grounding yourself in the present can be a great way to manage obsessive thoughts. Some of these techniques include – Taking deep breaths, taking a short walk, doing a few stretches or exercises or even reciting something

Surround yourself with uplifting people

Most times these thoughts keep you in a cycle of being self-focused. Reach out to someone, do something nice for someone and take your mind off yourself.

Do not be afraid

These thoughts may actually be pointing to hidden fears we may have. If you are constantly obsessing about making a fool of yourself in public, you may be afraid of what people think of you. If you are afraid of dying, you may have thoughts of about dying. Our fears manifest in our minds so we need to ask ourselves, what are behind these thoughts?

Don’t dwell on those thoughts

Learn to ignore and move on from these thoughts. Simply ignoring them and moving past them will help these thoughts not linger. Like with temptations, we simply need to ignore these thoughts and focus on something positive. The more you ignore, the less you respond.

Above all we should surrender our minds to Jesus. Let His word dwell in our minds. Sometimes we overcome evil by standing and fighting, other times we overcome by completely avoiding it. Let us “Set our minds on things that are above and not on things on the earth.” You will overcome.


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