Determination vs. Obsession

Ever had a goal that you absolutely had to reach, or an idea that you just were compelled to make happen? Life gives us many opportunities and allows us to go after whatever our hearts desire.

Some people are more laid back and work towards what they want at a slower and more carefree pace and others are strongly determined from the beginning and won’t stop until they have what they sought after. I am one of those people. Sometimes I focus so much on what I want that I expend all my energy until I have it.

Determination after a while can start to feel almost like an obsession. We live and breathe our desire and at some point it may be all we can think of and focus on. Our minds can really run away on us and we can lose ourselves. We must remember to keep control over ourselves and not let our minds run wild and become so wrapped up in our desires!

Hamster Wheel

Our brain is a very interesting and powerful organ. Whatever we feed it can make or break us. Our minds soak up a lot of information including the thoughts that we have and if we are not consciously filtering our thoughts, they can really take over us. Sometimes this process is slow, or we do not recognize how we are shaping our brain, but it truly does eventually have a great impact.

Have you ever been thinking of something, or worried about something and then before you know it you are thinking about that thought over and over again? Or, maybe your mind may have thought up many new thoughts that led to other thoughts and then you forgot the one you were originally thinking about! Our minds can take a thought and run with it if we let it.

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You may have heard of the terms hamster wheel and snowball effect. Both describe what happens to our brain when we overthink, or think in an anxious manner. The hamster wheel basically describes how someone persistently thinks the same thoughts over and over again, but gets nowhere because their thoughts go around and around in circles like a hamster running on a hamster wheel. The snowball effect states that our thoughts continue to gain momentum and power the more that we keep thinking. Like a snowball that gets bigger as it rolls down a hill, the thoughts keep gaining speed and power as it collects more momentum, our thoughts are fueling more thoughts.

These patterns of thinking happen to all of us, but I feel like they may be more common in individuals that are deep-thinkers, or are prone to anxiety. I know that I fall into both of these categories and once my mind gets going, it can be very hard to get it to stop. I have found ways that have helped though. First, it helps to calm the mind from all of the racing thoughts. Ways to do this include meditation, focusing on your breathing, observing details in the objects around the room you are in, anything that can shift your brain away from the current thoughts you are having. Once your mind is calmer, then you can put your energy into a project, or your to-do list, keeping active to avoid overthinking too much. If your mind was running because you were pondering a decision, or because of a question that you have, once you have relaxed some, try to look at the decision or question at hand logically and try to remove as much emotion as possible. Try to be mindful when your mind starts to wander astray from focusing just on the task at hand, which is to solve your question, or make a decision.

It is definitely easier said than done, but try not to let your mind run away on you! I still struggle with this often, but it really does rob one of a peaceful day. Having some control of the mind makes for a much easier way of life!

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Obsessions

As I sit here and write this blog, there are so many things that I can think of that if they were taken away, I would feel that a part of me was missing. As humans, it’s normal for us to develop attachments to people, places, things, etc. We get used to having certain things in our lives and they become part of us. When we have to go without or lose what we love, it can make us feel empty inside. The extreme version of this behavior is what borders on obsession.

I’m sure that most of us recall a time where we became obsessed with a person, a song, a hobby, a sport, a vacation spot, a favorite pair of shoes, our cell phone, food, etc. There are different levels of obsession, some of which keep you healthy and motivated and others which are detrimental to our mental and physical wellbeing. I believe a lot of how we feel and what we have going on in our lives contributes to developing and maintaining obsessions. For example, if we have lost a loved one, we may obsess or be clingy with our friends and family. If we are stressed and dealing with a rough time, we may become obsessed with a certain song that seems to speak to us and helps us cope, playing it over and over and over again.

Obsessions can come and go, temporary obsessions are to me a type of coping mechanism, or a way to distract and reduce anxiety. Long-term obsessions in my opinion are deep-rooted from our past experiences or feeling a lack of something in one’s life. Obsession can also be a way of avoiding life. Someone who has had a lot of negative past experiences with people may cling to the first person that shows them love, someone who is having a hard time mentally may turn to drugs to ease the pain and that high becomes something that individual keeps craving. An individual who is extremely shy may become overly involved in a hobby that allows themselves to retreat from society and avoid human contact.

I am someone who tends to have obsessive tendencies. I can get wrapped up in a person, play a song nonstop on repeat, eat sweets to no end, and overthink life relentlessly, however most of the time they are nothing but a temporary distraction. There are times however where my obsessions are too strong for my liking. When my thoughts or feelings hit this point it becomes difficult to want to do or think of anything else. This makes me very uneasy and uncomfortable. I try to create a better balance in my life so that I am not so fixated on one thing, I also try to figure out what the root of my obsession is stemming from.

When it comes to obsessions or desires, it’s interesting to note that your heart and mind may want different things. I’ve always wished to have more control over my mind and heart, however to a point we don’t have full control over that and it is something in our subconscious, something that makes us individually unique.

We can all learn a thing or two from each other. How do you all deal with desires and obsessions?

As always, thank you for reading and have a beautiful week!