When I feel bored I become anxious and irritable. My mind becomes flooded with obsessive thoughts of my vices: I should find drugs, I need sex, how can I hustle up some money, who can I hit up for attention. Any vice will do. Even when I’m not engaging in one of those activities at the present moment, they are still at the forefront of my mind when boredom sets in.
I’m an addict. Not necessarily the type that indulges in vice and immediately spirals out of control, but an addict nonetheless.
I obsess over the things I crave. It’s almost as if I lust for them. My thoughts become dominated by obtaining whatever I’m obsessing over. If I begin to seek what I am obsessing over and I can’t find it, the obsession grows exponentially. I lose focus on everything else.
I believe there is demonstrable correlation between addiction and OCD. The key to managing these issues is understanding how your mind works. I’m not saying knockdown, drag out, alcoholics or addicts can learn to drink or use again. But I am saying there is a way to combat addictions and obsessions with practices I will describe below.
I’ve become more self aware of my ruminating thoughts. In the past these thoughts would hijack my mind. Now when I feel them building I’ve learned to train my mind to label them as obsessions and treat them as such. Labeling the thoughts for what they are (negative thoughts) takes a great deal of their power away. You can easily dismiss these thought without allowing them to sabotage your day, once you realize you don’t have to pay them any attention. You can simply stop feeding into them once they are labeled. It’s taken a great deal of practice to be able to quiet my cravings in this manner.
This process may not seem to be a difficult task to most people. However, ask anyone with addiction issues or OCD what it’s like to have your mind completely commandeered by one single thought. It’s almost impossible to deal with unless you have the correct tools to handle this type of problem. The massive amount of control your mind can have over your whole being is almost unimaginable.
Identifying the causes of your pain can allow you to create changes. It’s like anything else, once you have the answers and understand the practice it become much more manageable. However, Implementing the solution isn’t always the easiest. It takes time and many repetitions to master.
I needed to understand my issue first in order to deal with it. I had to realize my brain is wired in such a manner that I’m unable to control much of what comes into my mind. However, I can control how I react to those thoughts. I am able to be accountable for whether or not I spend any energy allowing those thoughts to blossom and take hold of my mind.
Sometimes I fall short and my negative thoughts seize control of my mind. This used to spin me out for hours or even days on end. Now it’s usually minutes at most. My thoughts aren’t my reality, unless I allow them to become so.
At first I tried to avoid thinking about certain things. I told myself to block out anything that was a problem for me. It doesn’t work! Trying to avoid thoughts actually makes them worse and more prevalent in your mind. Try not thinking about a pink elephant in the room. I bet all you can think about right now is that pink elephant.
Talk therapy with a professional can be incredibly helpful for uncovering these types of issues. A good therapist will also recommend certain activities like meditation that will help you control you mind much more effectively. This has been a crucial daily practice for me.
I’m sure most people read the word meditation and are immediately turned off by it. I was one of those people. Every time my therapist brought it up I would roll my eyes. I hated the thought of meditating. However, when the thoughts became to much I gave it a try. I started meditating using an app called Mindfulness.
I would occasionally do a 3 minute guided meditation in the morning. I hated every minute of it. Then I forced myself to do it every morning. Which lead to me extending the meditation period. Currently, I do 15 minutes of mediation every morning. I wouldn’t say I always look forward to doing it. Especially if I am rushing in the morning, but that is when I need it the most in order to slow down and control my mind.
Channeling focus to my breath and relaxing my mind has allowed me to gain clarity and insight into my actions. One of the greatest benefits of mediation is creating the ability to respond to a situation in a more control manner rather then immediately reacting to my emotions. This is paramount for an emotionally driven person like myself. I can easily fly off the handle and react in a manner that is detrimental to my well-being and livelihood. Mediating daily has been incredibly beneficial not only to my mental well being, but also to my productivity and output
All these acts help rewire the way your brain will function. There’s clinical research to prove this. They can assist in breaking the chains that bind your thoughts. There are choices to combat the negative thoughts that turn your life upside down. The practices I mention have made a dramatic impact on my life for the better.