You’ve got mail! Yes, but it is really mail or is it spam? Let’s think about how you evaluate that for a minute.
Have you ever received an email you thought had a great offer, an amazing deal, or an exciting inheritance possibility? What did you do? Perhaps you knew immediately it was junk and deleted it. But maybe the subject line was so enticing, you opened it, only to find out it was spam, and it had a virus attached that you got stuck with!
Guess what! That is how OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) of the thought variety works when you get intrusive thoughts. You get the thought, and because it feels soooo true, you decide it is, when the content of the thought was really fake, a scam your anxious mind pulled. And even worse, you are stuck with it–just like that spam email virus.
Send Spam To The Trash
When you send spam to the trash right away, you are using your judgement that it is of no value to you. This is exactly what you have to retrain a habitually anxious mind to do. You weigh an anxiety producing thought and decide if it is your anxious habit, or a real problem you can solve. You learn to question that urgent need to be certain. You decide that compelling urge to make the thoughts stop by temporary (at best) rationalizations is not helpful. You learn to stop avoiding situations you feel you cannot control. You can send your ‘thought spam’ to the trash!
This is not easy to do, but it is achievable with a mindful approach and a bit of support along the way. The reason this is tough is your amygdala has triggered your alarm response; the bells are clanging in your head. They feel real, but feelings are not facts, and your anxiety habit is tricking you once again. When your emotions get entangled with those thoughts, it is hard to stop the pattern. But you can figure out the unhelpful self-labeling you apply, or the ways in which you catastrophise your initial thoughts.
Life will always be filled with challenges. And I simply see no point in struggling with them alone. A little self reflection easily becomes way too much rumination. Understand that a bit of talk therapy can considerably shorten the time you spend struggling. You don’t have to take my word for it; many research meta studies verify that therapy works.
Shoot me an email if this is the case. Or go to my contact page; there are several ways to reach me. Let’s figure out how to change those spammy thoughts together!