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Home / Opinion / Mental health advice with Stan: Managing fearful, obsessive thoughts

Mental health advice with Stan: Managing fearful, obsessive thoughts

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There are times when we encounter negative thoughts that can be overwhelming.

For some people, the more they try to get rid of their thoughts, the stronger they become but there are techniques that a person can use to help manage obsessive thinking.

1. Do not focus on your fearful thinking 

The first thing a person must do is not to dwell on the fear-provoking thought when it comes. The more a person tries to reason out the fear behind the thought, the stronger it becomes. The next time you encounter a negative situation, get into the practice of not dwelling on it.

2. Think of a red stop sign

At times, a person might encounter a fearful thought that may be difficult to manage. When this happens, visualize a red stop sign which can serve as a reminder to think about something else. Regardless of how scary your negative thinking may be, do not dwell on it. This technique is great in dealing with your negative situations and depression.

3. Its only fear

The difference between an obsessive thought and a regular one is that an obsessive thought is based on fear. With this in mind, try to find the source of the fear behind your negative thinking and then find ways to get rid of your worries.

4. Your thoughts are exaggerated

Sometimes, a person may encounter a lot of scary thoughts coming at them all at once. Instead of getting upset, remember that your negative thinking is exaggerated with worry. Ignore the fear behind these obsessive thoughts, regardless of how strong the fear may be.

5. Challenge your negative thinking with positive statements and realistic thinking

When encountering thoughts that make you fearful or depressed, challenge them by asking yourself questions that will maintain objectivity and common sense. Focus on the reality of your situation and not on your negative thinking.

6. Carry a small notebook of positive statements with you

A person should keep a small notebook of positive statements that makes them feel good. Whenever they come across a positive and uplifting verse that makes them happy, write it down in a small notebook. A person can then carry this notebook around in their pocket and whenever they feel anxious, they can read their notebook.

7. Take it one day at a time

Instead of worrying about how you will get through the rest of the week or month, try to focus on today. Each day can provide us with different opportunities to learn new things and that includes learning how to deal with your situation. In addition, you will not feel overwhelmed with everything if you focus on one thing at a time.

8. Get help

Take advantage of the help that is available around you. If possible, talk to a professional who can help you manage your fears and anxieties. They will be able to provide you with additional advice and insights on how to deal with your current problem. By talking to a professional, a person will be helping themselves in the long run because they will become better able to deal with their problems in the future.

Stan Popovich is a Penn State graduate and the nationally known anxiety author of “A Layman’s Guide to Managing Fear”— an easy-to-read overcoming anxiety book that’s helped thousands of people to confidently manage their persistent fears and anxieties. Stan has over 20 years of personal experience in dealing with fear and anxiety. For more free mental health advice visit Stan’s website at managingfear.com and read Stan’s articles and his blog. The above is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Mr. Popovich is not a medical professional. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read here.

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