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I used to wonder if I was the only person on the planet struggling to keep my shit together. I often have cyclical destructive thoughts that run through my mind, forcing me to question pretty much anything, constantly in fear of ulterior motives and manipulations. (Writing that sentence actually sums up what it was like growing up in my childhood alcoholic and mentally ill home, but I digress.)

For what it’s worth, I think I’ve come a long way in my therapy and efforts to keep myself at least appearing to be semi-normal. But, the unwanted thoughts unfortunately remain. Sometimes I can shut them off, but by far the most effective (but socially bizarre) method is to make some utterance to change my inner monologue to a spoken one. It usually garners the unwanted attention of people around me, and can be quite embarrassing.

I recently saw this study done at Harvard on “unwanted thoughts” and finally didn’t feel as alone. Apparently, I suffer from a relatively common human condition. It does offer some techniques which I think I’m going to try:

  • Pick an absorbing distractor and focus on that instead
  • Try to postpone the thought
  • Cut back on multitasking
  • Exposure (think about the idea in controlled ways)
  • Practice Meditation and mindfulness

Anyway, if you’re like me and have trouble with stuff like impending dread and icky inner monologues, try some of these techniques and read the article (free access online) for more information. 🙂