There are times when we encounter fearful thoughts that can be difficult to manage. For some people, the more they try to get rid of the thoughts, the stronger the thoughts become and the more difficult they become to manage. As a result, here is a brief list of techniques that a person can use to help manage their fearful and obsessive thoughts.
The first thing a person must do is not to dwell or focus on the fear provoking thought when it comes. The more a person tries to reason out the thought or focus on the fear behind the thought, the stronger the thought becomes. The next time you encounter an obsessive thought, get into the practice of not dwelling on it.
A person should visualize a red stop sign in their mind when they encounter a fear-provoking thought. When the negative thought comes, a person should think of a red stop sign that serves as a reminder to stop focusing on that thought and to think of something else. A person can then try to think of something positive to replace the negative thought.
Sometimes, a person may encounter a lot of scary thoughts coming at them all at once. Instead of getting upset, remember that these thoughts are exaggerated and are not based on reality. From my interviews with various professionals, I’ve learned that usually, it is the fear behind the thoughts that get us worked up. Ignore the fear behind these obsessive thoughts, regardless of how strong the fear may be. If you ignore the fear behind these thoughts, then the thoughts become easier to manage.
Remember that the difference between an obsessive thought and a regular thought is that an obsessive thought is based on fear. With this in mind, try to find the source of the fear behind the thought. Once you find the source, learn to manage it. If you do, the thought becomes easier to deal with.
Learn to challenge your negative thinking with positive statements and realistic thinking. When encountering thoughts that make you fearful or depressed, challenge those thoughts by asking yourself questions that will maintain objectivity and common sense.
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 feel better, they should write it down. A person can then carry this notebook around in their pocket and whenever they feel anxious, they can read the affirming words.
Although I am a layman and not a professional, I have interviewed many counselors and I learned that there are many ways to deal with these kinds of thoughts. If you have trouble, definitely seek the services of a professional.
Stan Popovich is the author of “A Layman’s Guide to Managing Fear Using Psychology, Christianity and Non-Resistant Methods.” For more information, visit managingfear.com.