I have recently become more aware of the challenges those with obsessive compulsive disorder face. One of the biggest challenges shared with me is the challenge to filter out unwanted thoughts. It was described to me in the following way. You start over-thinking which becomes negative thinking, then you consider the worst case scenario and obsess about it until it feels real to you.
Having a constant battle with your own thoughts is emotionally exhausting. Especially as the emotions associated with the worst case scenario are usually worry and fear. To some degree we all experience over-thinking and negative thinking, and I know as a young woman I was often tormented by my negative thinking.
I am grateful to have created techniques that assist me in facing the challenges of overthinking, or focusing on the wost case scenario. I call it the happiness habit. When a thought leaves me feeling uncomfortable or distressed. I consciously think a better feeling thought, a positive thought that can bring relief. I will purposefullly begin each sentence I think with the words ‘The truth is….’ I will look for the silver lining, the treasure in the trial, and look for, and focus on the best case scenario.
Most importantly I will focus on appreciating the good stuff, cultivating an attitude of gratitude and counting my blessings.
I am so grateful to the therapists and teachers who have assisted me in creating a happiness habit. At the same time, I am grateful for the contrast I experienced as a depressed, anxious, over-thinking teenager, as it has not only made me determined to manage my thinking and create more positivity and joy in my life, but it has given me insight and empathy with those who battle with their thoughts every day.