My Mom is Obsessed therapist, Ayana Rose-Williams, shares her tips and tricks for controlling an obsession.
Healthy Commitment, Unhealthy Obsession
You may know that obsessions are the domination of one’s thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, image or desire. However, you may not realize that you obsess more than you know, and our beliefs, desires and fears are shaped by habitual thinking and feelings.
The type of dominant thoughts, ideas and desires one has flavors the outcome of the obsession. It brings up the question of healthy commitment versus unhealthy obsession. If someone obsesses over positive, empowering ideas, then truly amazing things can happen.
For example, people starting their own business who dedicate extra time, start early and stay late in order to make the business venture happen is definitely a positive. Once they have accomplished their goal, they scale back and set a schedule so they don’t lose themselves in the process.
But if one’s dedication turns to obsessing - interfering with daily activities, compromising relationships, draining you physically and emotionally over extended periods of time, and you find yourself giving away your power to it - then the dedication has turned into an obsession, and it has taken over. If you find that this has happened to you, that an idea, activity or hobby has turned into an obsession, then it is time to do something about it. Being aware of the causes and symptoms can help you handle the problem better.
Identify when you are thinking about the obsession, and consciously stop yourself and think about something else. Incorporate meditative practices. Blank out your mind as if it were a TV screen you turned off. Write it down. Write down how much time you are dedicating to it, and write down how much money you are spending on it.
Next, create a daily to-do list. Add in giving some time to it, but manage all your time so that one thing does not consume it. Spend some time with your thoughts, journal and take a closer look at what that activity or hobby means to you and what it would mean if you could not do it. List the consequences of your behavior and the negative consequences this obsession brings on. Also, think about replacement behaviors: what can be done in its place? Talk to your friends and family and get feedback.
If you still feel like you can’t control it, and not doing it begins to give you anxiety and stress, then please consult a professional for help.