You may think that repetitive thoughts are particularly important. In the end, it seems plausible that if the thought was not important, it would simply fly out of my head and be forgotten. If the thought continues to repeat itself, it needs to be given attention.
Fact: the importance of a thought has very little to do with its repeatability. Thoughts usually start repeating themselves if you resist them or try to get rid of them. So if you have repetitive thoughts that you resist, they will gradually disappear when you relax your resistance. Any thoughts you try to push out are only more likely to keep repeating, such as” don’t think about an itchy spot, “” stop humming a tune from a commercial, “or”stop gawking at food stuck in the other person’s teeth.”
Remember the statement that the more you resist, the more intrusive the thought becomes, and the carrot exercise from the first chapter? That’s how the brain works. When you put energy into a particular thought, certain neural connections arise, making the thought more likely to occur (Pittman and Karle, 2015). This statement is true for all thoughts, it has nothing to do with their importance. It is your attempts to avoid the appearance of certain thoughts in your mind that cause them to reappear. An example of this is the situation that occurs when you try to stop thinking before going to bed. Everyone had to watch the thoughts grow stronger, branch out, and repeat themselves more and more insistently in response to attempts to get rid of them, to stop this tedious flow. To fall asleep, you need to let your mind wander, not fight it.
Repetitive thoughts are thoughts that are stuck. And these may not necessarily be important thoughts.
We hope that you now have a better understanding of some of the most common myths and misconceptions about how thoughts function in the human mind. Accordingly, you are more prepared to understand the obsessive thoughts that are currently plaguing you, how exactly they get stuck, and how to deal with them in a new way. They don’t mean what you think they mean, and there’s no reason to be afraid of them, and if you resist them, they won’t go away.
Believing even some of these myths can lead to the usual obsessive thoughts getting stuck. Knowing the facts behind these nine common myths will help reduce the chance of obsessive thoughts getting stuck. Now that the myths have been debunked, the next chapter will provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.