You know those thoughts. They creep up on you and attach to your brain like a fishing lure, just hanging out, oblivious to your pain, they could stay forever. You try to make them go away, but then the fishing lure seems to embed itself even deeper in your brain and the pain becomes more intense.
Way back in the day when I was a Junior Baby Social Worker sometimes a therapist would give advice to wear a rubber band on your wrist. When the thought would come and embed itself in your brain you were supposed to stretch that rubber band and let it go around your wrist. SMACK! Sometimes the pain made it go away temporarily, but then it would come back with a vengeance; like Voldemort going after that Potter kid.
What’s an obsessive thinker to do?
Distraction is a good coping skill that can be used in the short term to help get those thoughts out of your head. Eventually you will want to learn more lasting ways to rein in those thoughts. Sometimes a thought is just a thought, but sometimes it’s something that you need to deal with so that it can go away.
Almost 33 Distraction Techniques:
- Watch TV or a movie
- Listen to music
- Talk to someone
- Work on your gratitude list
- Play with a pet
- Be mindful
- Masturbate (only if you’re in private please)
- Create something
- Do math
- Play Sudoku
- Go to Walmart and take a poll on how many people are eating red beans and rice this week
- Go volunteer
- Make a list of things you like to do to distract yourself and refer to it
- Write a letter
- Email a friend
- Go blow bubbles
- Offer to babysit and play with the kids/animals
- Go to a park and swing
- Go watch little kids play
- Write a story
- Knit or do some other crafty thing
- Play an instrument if you have one
- Balance you checkbook
- Give yourself an allotted period of worrying time and refuse to worry unless it’s that time
- Give the thought to a worry doll and leave it in another room
- Write the thought on a piece of paper and tell yourself that you can’t worry about it until tomorrow
By all means add to this list, take off the things that you wouldn’t do. Take a poll at Walmart and see how other people distract themselves or ask your friends and family.
You’re not the only one in this big world that worries and has obsessive thoughts and worries, but you don’t have to suffer with them. Now go on and try some of these things. Remember what works once may not work as well another time, so try lots of them.
Wishing you laughter, serenity, and a significant decrease in anxiety