- Mental Health
What is a thought addiction?
The strongest addiction, thousand times more powerful and influential than any substance or drug that is known to man, is thought addiction. Throughout our day each of us loses awareness of our thinking and our mind wanders on its own.
We tend to take our thinking for granted. Not knowing it is our thinking which creates everything in our lives. But when we lose control of our thinking we can get caught in a dangerous looping of thoughts that keep us locked in our minds.
Not a lot is known about what we are thinking. Why? Because thinking is invisible. No one can see our thoughts, even us.
Even more surprising, little is known about thought addiction. Depressive thinking, obsessive thinking, negative thinking or suicidal thinking are all thought addictions. Thought addiction can majorly affect your health, both mentally and physically.
There are many symptoms related to thought addiction. Thought addiction can cause sleepless nights, anxiety, fear, panic, stress, digestive troubles, lower self-esteem, decreased confidence, failed relationships, tight muscles, hyper awareness, hypersensitivity, and headaches.
Addictions are activated by a Thought
All Addictions start with a Thought
A common experience that everyone has experienced at one time or another in his or her lives is when a song gets caught in one’s head. It seems to play and play no matter what he or she does. It seems that the song gets caught in an endless loop. They cannot get the song out of their head.
Well, the same is true with a thought. Thoughts can get caught in a constant loop. They seem to be powerful and take up residence in your head. What happens is you get overly aware of the thoughts and you can't ignore it. The thoughts could be good or bad. The thoughts seem to be very influential and have a life of its own. You become powerless and unable to focus, concentrate or stop the thought. The thought seems to be in the forefront of your consciousness all the time no matter how you try to stop it. You become overly obsessed either trying to stop them from looping or lost in their directions to do things you would not normally do.
Thinking one thought or set of thoughts over and over create a mental habit. This is mental experience is called a thought addiction.
Thought Addiction clouds a person's mind
Meaning of Thought Addiction
Thought addiction is a new concept but it follows the same rules and damaging relationship development as every other addiction process. Continuing to focus on any particular thought creates a habitual pattern that can wreak havoc on a person’s life. Little is known about thought addiction but it is the key element of any addiction. All addictions start with the development of a thought first –“I think I need…” “I want…” or I deserve….”
Thought addiction is a fact, a reality. It happens to you all the time even when you're not aware it is occurring. A constant remembering of tasks, obligations, and responsibilities are also a form of thought addiction.
Thought addiction is the beginning of all known addictions whether it is an emotion, substance or behavior. At first, the thought or set of thoughts works well helping you to subdue painful emotions or keep you in procrastination. But after a while, it takes over your life and ends in a toxic relationship.
What is a thought addiction?
Can a thought become addictive? Of course, it can.
By definition, a thought addiction is the development of a habitual thought pattern to one or more thoughts. Thought addiction is the returning over and over again to a thought that does not serve you. Simply a thought addiction is ruminating on one or more thoughts repetitively until it becomes a habitual thought pattern and drives behavior and emotions.
Thought addiction can consume you, damage you and can have lasting devastating results in a depleting the energy in every system of your body. An addiction to a thought produces a rapid and intense change in mood, emotional pain, mental disconnection from the present and a painful cognitive experience of resistance when there is any attempt to withdrawal from the thought or attempt to stop the thought. Thought addiction can drive a person to repetitively seek escape in another addiction to a substance, emotion or behavior. The escaping the thought into another secondary addiction will cause the person to get locked into another habitual pattern in order to bury the primary addiction to a thought. Meaning using another addiction to get rid of the primary addictive thought. Thought addiction is a hidden fact. Devastating effects can become very powerful and highly influential if ignored. Thought addiction is very real.
A thought addiction can also cause sleepless nights, anxiety, fear, stress, digestive troubles, boring or tense relationships, tight muscles, headaches and yes even death (suicidal thoughts)?
Addiction to a thought is the first step in the formation of an addiction to another substance, emotion, behavior or another thought. Once sober from the secondary addiction, you are still left with the original thought that got into the secondary addiction. If not treated it will certainly cause a relapse of the secondary addiction.
For an example let’s look at how an addiction to smoking starts with a thought.
The first set of thoughts or the hook is “I need smoke to relax” or “I will be more accepted by others” or “smoking will make me more social because everyone smokes”. Then from the understanding of why you began to smoke and the realization that you are addicted, you move into attempting to termination your smoking. Once the cessation of the smoking addiction is completed then one will still be left with the thought that originally started you to smoke if the thought is not shifted or changed. In recovery, if the thoughts, pre and post, have not been dealt with, then it is possible that relapse is inevitable (for example: “I will fail at trying to stop”, “I cannot function without smoking” or “my addiction is different from everyone else”).
The first action to recover from smoking is to stop the behavior. Research has shown that nicotine is out of the body within the first 48 hours but it is the intense habitual mental connection or original thought of need that will cause a relapse, “I cannot reduce my stress without smoking”, “I will no longer be accepted” or “I will gain weight if I do not smoke”. Smokers can build new neural pathways and learn new behaviors and attitudes that can transform the way they see and react to to life situations. This process of thought addiction can also be seen in the development of eating disorders, depression or contemplating suicide and so can the same transformation be accomplished.
So in viewing recovery from any addiction one has to look at what is the thought that began the need for a substance (alcohol, exercise, illegal drugs, legal drugs, or food) or behavior (obsession, compulsion). Once sober you have to look at the residual pattern of thoughts that are left over. Therefore it can then be concluded that the development and ensuing unhealthy relationship with a thought is the cause and the secondary addiction to the substance or behavior is the symptom or reaction to the original thought.
5 “Must Have” Tips on How to Have a Successful Thought Addiction Recovery
Is there hope? Yes, there is. You can recover from primary thought addiction and its symptoms as well as avoid picking up a secondary addiction.
Recognize the original thought that got stuck in your mind and started looping over and over. Admit that the recognized thought is a problem.
Identify the emptiness, need or desire that the thought originated occupies (like acceptance, acknowledgment, social status or a belief that you are good enough). Accept why the thought became so important and the event that spawned it.
Craft a new list of positive thoughts that you want to replace your negative looping thoughts. These positive thoughts should serve you positively and the path of your recovery.
Repeat to each new thought daily. Once in the morning upon rising and once at night before you go to sleep. Commit to a strong personal contract of self-support and accountability.
Create a realistic daily action plan to complete the 4th step with precise and doable steps. Each step should be specific objectives, measurable and time lined. If you follow through, others will see in you and you will feel the changes in 90 days. in order for you to see your success. Create a support community with your friends, family members, and peers.
Be extremely mindful of your commitments and responsibilities to complete your action plan that you developed. Have full mindfulness of the goals you set above for healing your thoughts. Shift your mindset to positive and you will be able to achieve the change you desire. Have faith and believe in yourself and you will gain command of your thoughts.
Successfully abating both the cause and the symptoms is not just a dream, it can be a reality.