This piece is reposted from the blog My Two Cents: Thoughts of a Small Town Therapist.
There are two catgeories in life: things in our control and things out of our control. The simple act of deciding which category a particular situation is in, can help you decide on a course of action.
Expending mental and emotional energy on something you can't control is not productive. The proverbial banging your head against a wall.
Knowing something is in your control (even partially) gives you the opportunity to make a plan.
Jeremy has a neighbor named Sam. Sam is a sweet guy but he's obnoxious and has poor boundaries. He knocks on Jeremy's door all the time. He's oblivious of the time of day. He wants to chat endlessly. Jeremy cannot control the knock on the door. But he can control what happens next. He can ignore Sam's knock, or he can open the door and tell Sam he's busy.
I share this analogy with folks who tend to obsess about things. Obsessing feels out of control. However, though you don't have control over the unwanted thought popping into your head, you do have control over what happens next. You can let it in, and let it hang around, or you can pro-actively try to dismiss it by ignoring it or forcing yourself to move onto something else.