We've all had episodes of recurring or obsessive thoughts.
Sometimes, they're amazing like falling in love or replaying wonderful memories.
However, more often they're things we worry about, annoy us, or involve insecurity, fear, and shame.
When we're under the spell of obsessive thoughts, it's difficult to focus, get creative, or make definitive plans for the future.
So, how do we break the spell?
1. Try the Brain Dump Method.
Obsessive thoughts tend to run around in a loop without a solution. This loop holds your thinking process hostage! In order to break the spell and jump out of the loop, you have to give those pesky thoughts another escape route. Hence, the Brain Dump.
For the Brain Dump Method, take out your journal or a blank piece of paper. Next, write down all the thoughts running around in your head. Write down your fears, hopes, anger, regrets, ideas etc. until there's nothing left.
Why it's important: Remember your brain has 3 different levels each with their own personalities, opinions, and motivations. Can you imagine a group of people all talking at once desperate to be heard? That's what it's like in your head! When you write everything down, it gives you a chance to sort through the clutter. This helps soothe you because each brain had a chance to say their piece.
2. Make your Disaster Plan
Once you've completed your Brain Dump, you get to see all your fears in one place. One reason we get so obsessive about negative things is because our survival brain is sending up flares, alarm bells and smoke signals to get you to pay attention. It's trying to decide the best way to proceed: fight, flight, or freeze.
This brain is always calculating the worst-case scenario. Since it's also concerned about keeping you safe, anything that's new or uncertain is considered risky. The UNCERTAINTY is one of the biggest problems that holds you back from moving forward. This is why we need a Disaster Plan.
To create your Disaster plan, write down any remaining fears that aren't on your Brain Dump List. Often, these involve paying the bills, housing, food, jobs etc. Write down what you would do if you lost your job, couldn't pay the bills, had to move etc. Who would you ask for help? Where could you find another job? What skills do you have that would help you now?
Why it's important: My friend *Melissa did this exercise when her job was in a precarious state. Like most people, she had obsessive thoughts about what she would do if she lost it, couldn't pay the bills, became homeless etc. She wrote down exactly where she could get another job (something she used to do in high school), called her brother, and arranged to stay with him if she ever lost her house. They agreed she could stay 6 months rent-free before she would need to financially contribute and even decided on the amount of rent she would pay. She looked up area food banks, how to file unemployment, and reached out to friends she knew she could ask for help.
When *Melissa did this exercise, she felt more in control because she had a plan. This plan calmed her fears and made her feel that she would be ok. A concrete plan allows your survival brain to stop sending alarm signals and relax because you've removed a large amount of uncertainty.
3. Stop obsessive thoughts with flower essences.
I love, love, love flower essences for helping release unwanted emotions! They're a gentle way to change your emotional outlook, aren't contraindicated with any medications, and are safe for babies and pets.
Flower essences were developed by British physician, Edward Bach. He felt the standard medicine of the time wasn't doing enough to help patients release ailments directly related to emotional trauma and upset. He created 38 flower essences to deal with common emotional states or ailments. A remedy is chosen to help you move from a negative to a positive state. Here are some of my favorites for conditions related to emotional upset and obsessive thoughts.
* White Chestnut: Lack of focus, repetitive thoughts, racing mind, insomnia, jumbled thoughts
*Mimulus: Ailments related to known fears like poverty, job loss, homelessness, health issues
*Larch: Low self-esteem
*Hornbeam: Overwhelmed by life and unable to do anything
*Elm: Feeling unable to carry out your life's purpose or important work
*Pine: Extreme guilt or self-judgement
*Rescue Remedy: Ailments from shock, grief, old and recent trauma
Why it's important: Flower essences help you release trauma in a safe way rather than suppressing it. If you can let go of any stress or anxiety now, then you prevent it from developing deep roots which can affect you for years to come.
Let's face it, there's a lot of uncertainty right now and almost everyone is being triggered in some way. Some people are super anxious and others are almost paralyzed with fear. There's no right or wrong way to respond to an unprecedented global trauma. You may discover that old fears are resurfacing. Although it's uncomfortable, please know that I'm here to help you resolve your old pain or fears and help you reach a more peaceful state.
Dr. April Darley is an expert at resolving stuck patterns of behavior through Neuro-Emotional Technique (N.E.T.). By identifying self-sabotaging behaviors, she can help you regain confidence, improve relationships, remove blocks to health, wealth and success in any area of your life.