Obsessive thoughts (the anatomy)
I’m sure you have noticed or maybe not but whenever you try not to think about something, you end up thinking about it more. It’s an obsessive thought and although is seemingly harmless in itself, it can go wrong or lead to several medical conditions including OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and Anxiety disorder. Studies also show that overreliance on imagination can be a sign of OCD.
You should read Thinking productively Part 2 if you haven’t. It gives a few introductory insights
The idea of obsession is that you can’t seem to concentrate or focus on anything other than the situation(s) you’re obsessed about.
In many cases, obsessive thoughts are linked to fears and negative emotions leading to more fears and negative emotions but there’s another side. The one you happily, subtly do that keeps you from being productive and thinking to execute. The imagination of a future without a plan of what to do next.
The future you want is the outcome of an action or a set of actions.
You won’t get the girl if you don’t ask! You can wallow in the thoughts of a future with her and how many kids you want to have together but it’s not happening if you don’t ask her… or him (if you want the guy). You won’t get the job if you don’t send the email. In many cases what you want is at the end of what you do.
Enjoying your thoughts without figuring out what to do next is obsessing and it’ll eventually lead to negative emotions because those thoughts or images are not materializing.
When these thoughts (obsessions) start to compel (compulsions) you to act in certain ways to make you feel better temporarily and this happens consistently in a way that it affects your wellbeing, you may need to be diagnosed with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). You don’t want that.
So, think in solutions,
Think in steps of execution no matter how small, there has to be somewhere to start.
Think and plan.
Think with someone.
Think on paper (write).
Part 4 is about the science of thoughts. We think in trees.