Many of us tend to obsess about many things in our lives. As parents we can easily obsess about our children. Especially, if there is an area that we want to “fix” in our child. Obsessing is a merry go round that’s hard to get off of. It leaves us feeling doubting, anxious, fearful, or sad. Suppressing negative thoughts will not allow you to get rid of them and they will continue to return. You may have a vision that no one else sees or understands, or are starting on a road with your child that you are unsure of, or come to realize that you made a mistake in your child rearing.
Here are 10 ways that are helpful for stepping off the merry go round of obsessive thoughts and into a more positive productive mindset:
- Match the amount of prayer to the intensity of the fear. As often as you obsess about an issue is as often as you can offer up a prayer about it.
- Deep Pressure Touch: In my profession of occupational therapy, we have a saying “When you don’t know what to do, use deep pressure.” It’s an easy and effective way of helping you relax your body and mind. I wrap people up in Spandex, have them wear fitted Lycra clothing or give them a deep pressure massage or hug.
- Meditation: There are so many different forms and types out there. There are even parenting daily meditation books at your local book store or online. There are also many meditation CD’s on the market and most people find that the more they do it, the calmer they are. Here is a link to one of the myriad of parenting meditation books: http://themindfulparent.org/mindful_parenting_book.html
- Set aside 5-15 minutes of time in the day dedicated to thinking about that subject and for the rest of the time, push off the thought for that designated time. On a personal level, this one does not work for me but many have had success with it.
- I recently learned the following three step process from Bill Loke, on a meditation CD that he created: a. Instead of pushing away the thought, rather think of another thought. Our minds are more likely to be receptive to a new thought, rather than no thought. For instance, instead of thinking about your son’s low frustration tolerance try replacing it with a prayer, an affirmation or think about another topic of choice. b. Then take 1-3 long slow breathes. c. Then feel, actually feel two places in your body, such as: What does your toes feel like inside your shoes? How does your jaw feel – is it relaxed or tight? This is being mindful of the here and now.
- Exercise releases endorphins and often takes away the negativity of the obsessive thought. That is because endorphins trigger a positive emotion inside of you giving you positive feelings, and this causes positive thoughts. Similar to the feelings a jogger gets after running; which is described as “euphoric.” My suggestion is to do 20 minutes of cardio activity 3-4 times a week.
- A most powerful way of dealing with any emotional discomfort is to have a healing conversation with a safe person. I’m not talking about venting or gossiping, but rather having a mutual conversation that is attuned with self- awareness and compassion. When we look at the face of a calm caring person, the parts of our body that process stress, immediately calm down. And so does our stress level.
- Focused Distraction: This means to distract yourself and try keeping your mind on something different. This one can be a challenge when you are having a problem with obsessing.This idea will not actually get rid of the negative thoughts, but it is best to dwell on something different, rather than let your mind wander aimlessly, thinking about the obsessive thought.
- Acceptance: Once you have accepted your negative thoughts, they will begin to feel less important and will slowly diminish.
- Self-affirmation: Affirming that you are doing the best you can, that you are loved, that your child is loved, that you are enough, and that your child is enough can help decrease the intensity of a negative obsessive thought.
So instead of going in circles trying to get to where we already are, we can help ourselves get off the merry go round and conquer our thoughts. We all make mistakes and we can stand up and not accept defeat.
You can use all these methods or some of these methods combined. You will become a more relaxed effective individual if you find something that works for you.
I”d love to hear what works for you when thoughts are swirling around your head over and over.
Best Wishes for clarity and a calm mind.