You have thought – and rethought – if you locked the door when you went out? Are you on the street and you wonder if you turned off the light; or the gas? This is not as serious as it looks like. Moreover, you are not the only person it happens to. The thoughts that come to your mind are normal; they are not obsessions … yet.
Thoughts don’t turn into obsession overnight. At first, they are imperceptible, then they grow, but they don’t seem so serious to you; when you start having problems at work, in the family, with friends, you may have developed an obsession. Recognizing the degree of frequency and intensity is crucial to avoid that one of your recurring thoughts starts to be harmful.
If you don’t get major problems in your daily life, you can let your recurring thoughts flow and unlock them with relaxation techniques, and by becoming aware of their cause.
Imagine a grandmother lighting a candle in the Church so that her grandson succeeds the exam. Or the songs you hum in your brain and can’t get rid of them. Or the cultures that pray to get some rain. They are examples of small obsessions that do not harm anyone or give problems in everyday life. Therefore, in similar cases, you do not need to take actions.
There are some tricks you can use to keep them under control.
Let’s see some of them.
If, for example, you wash your hands too often, try to actually count how many times you’ve washed them. Then, think about the absurdity of doing it so often because washing your hands well once should be enough, and doing it twice should reassure you that they are really clean.
If your fear is to get infected on the public transport, because you touch knobs, bars, doors, use gloves every time you take them or take a hydro-alcoholic gel with you to be used as soon as you get off (very useful also during Covid times).
The important thing is to be able to rationalize your recurring thoughts and find solutions to control them. If you really cannot manage to do it, however, you should consult a professional (doctor, psychologist, coach) who can help you keep your thoughts from becoming obsessions.
Also be aware that genetics can be a cause of your recurring thoughts. If you are very emotional and have difficulty controlling your impulses, you are somewhat predisposed. Exposure to obsessive models in the family, which transmit the values of order, norms, not making mistakes, can also be a cause. Highly demanding, perfectionist, rigid, excessively ordered, inflexible and reluctant to delegate tasks personalities are also more prone to developing OCD.
Recurring thoughts are normal until they become fixations. In addition, remember that most of the things that worry us never happen. Try to notice it and let me know.