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Preoccupation With Unwanted Thoughts

Updated on April 27, 2013

Obsessive Thinking

Thoughts can preoccupy our minds and interfere with what is currently going on.
Thoughts can preoccupy our minds and interfere with what is currently going on. | Source

Unwanted Thoughts

Many of us have preoccupations with our thoughts. Being worried is about being anxious about a future event. Worry can be an effective way to manage, problem solve and anticipate needs.

Excessive worry can cause a person to be plagued by thoughts and images of impending events with the thinking that there will be negative outcomes. In reality, these worries may never come to be, and if they do, there is a greater likelihood that there will be a viable solution, than that the person will just be left helpless from the situation.

Some people are preoccupied with obsessive thinking. When a person has no ability to gain control over distressing and recurrent thoughts,it is considered obsessive thinking. Thoughts like this that are so intrusive can lead to rituals and repetitive actions in an attempt to relieve the obsessive thoughts. This is known as OCD, obsessive compulsive disorder. Brain scans on people with OCD have shown that this is associated with neurological dysfunction that forces these thoughts to get caught in loops that constantly repeat.

Over Thinking

It is what we do with our thoughts, not the thoughts themselves.
It is what we do with our thoughts, not the thoughts themselves. | Source

Worry, Obsessive Thinking, Ruminating, Intrusive Thinking

Rumination is worrying obsessively about the past. It can come out in the form of guilt, regret, anger, human errors, missed opportunities, sadness, shame and guilt, and other negatively perceived occurrences.

This type of thinking has a lot to do with what if scenarios. If only they would have done something different, then their lives would be much better now. Rumination usually occurs in depressed people, but it also may be seen in other mental health disorders. In our minds, we replay over and over again about the causes, factors, consequences, and results that happened from the negative emotional experience. When we ruminate, we can’t shake these thoughts. We can’t let things go, we let ourselves get upset, and hold ourselves back from moving forward.

The word ruminate originates from Latin for chewing cud. A cow chews their food, and then re-chews their food after they have swallowed it. People keep rethinking past scenarios in a similar way, which can be damaging to their mental health.

Rumination is an unhealthy obsessive way of thinking. We are not problem solving because these negative thoughts keep our minds occupied far too long. Rumination may never help to come to a resolution or a way to solve the situation. And when this happens, this type of thinking can become problematic. Rumination can cause a person to in a bad mood, or make them feel upset unnecessarily. For however long you ruminate, you will remain upset. Rumination can impair thinking and drive away needed social support.

Preoccupation with thoughts and Depression and Anxiety

Research has consistently proven that people who ruminate have a greater chance of developing depression and anxiety, and these people are more likely to be self sabotaging. People who ruminate tend to be overly self focused. By replaying scenarios they repetitively think about themselves and their world, which could lead to maladaptive and intrusive thoughts.

Intrusive thinking is defined by repetitive thoughts that may be involuntary, are difficult to control, can interfere with current activities,and the person is trying to suppress. Intrusive thoughts may also be associated with trauma. Some researchers say that intrusive thoughts are part of rumination and some researchers say that rumination and intrusive thinking are separate and distinct aspects of preoccupied thoughts.

Getting Help With Thoughts That Preoccupy Your Mind

What you think about affects how you feel. You can feel better, and if changing your thinking will make things better for you, it is worth getting help.

When worry , obsessive thinking, rumination, and intrusive thoughts occupy your mind, this negative thinking can interfere with your concentration, you ability to sleep, and healthy social interactions. There are differences between worry and rumination. Worry is associated with the perception of anticipated danger and is future oriented thinking. Rumination is obsessive thinking about past events and is associated with hopelessness and sadness that leads someone feeling depressed. Both have a toll of great emotional suffering.

Obsessive thinking has a lot to do with unrealistic fears. Worry has to do with real life situations, but with excessive worry about these situations.

Getting Rid of Unwanted Thoughts

Professional counseling can help with unhelpful thoughts that are occupying  you
Professional counseling can help with unhelpful thoughts that are occupying you | Source

Negative Self Talk

People who are diagnosed with depression have shown that rumination is a big factor in their thinking. Rumination may be a factor in the depression, prolong the depression, and increase the possibility of recurrence of more episodes of depression.

All preoccupations of thoughts are dominated by negative self talk.

Through self awareness you may be able to change some of the thoughts that preoccupy your mind. A mental health counselor may be very helpful in dealing with unwanted thoughts, more than trying to do it yourself is because, it is not the thoughts that are the problem. It is what you are doing with these thoughts and how you are letting them be part of your reality, when they don’t have or deserve this relevance.

Everyone has thoughts that can be defined as being crazy or inappropriate. People who are preoccupied with their thoughts do set boundaries between their thoughts and what is reality. Just because you believe it, doesn’t mean it will happen. Trying to stop the preoccupation with these thoughts does not work. Research is consistently shown that thought suppression does not work. Suppressing your thinking is ineffective because you thoughts will keep coming back.

A professional counselor will usually use cognitive behavior therapy to help relieve the anxiety that may be leading to the intrusive thoughts.

Unwanted Thoughts

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    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 4 years ago

      Hi Kathi, Thanks for your insightful comments.

    • Fossillady profile image

      Kathi 4 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

      You could say that worry is the reoccupation of the mind that does not understand its connection to God and its own spirit. Meditation is a wonderful tool that helps me with worry. Very useful information . . .