How to banish your thought loops.I

have an earwig. It's the trumpet solo from the beginning of Mahler's Fifth Symphony. When I'm trying to be quiet and work, it blares through my head, and soon without noticing it, I start to sing along. It's annoying to my colleagues and me. But not all earwigs are so benign. Some people replay worrisome events, conversations, and looking backward and forward to distraction. Either way, earwigs aren't helpful to the creative process or to clear thinking. Fortunately, psychologists have developed ways that you can give your earwig the boot.

Earwig: To attempt to influence by persistent confidential argument or talk.

–    The Free Dictionary

Think about something else

In what psychologist Bruce Hubbard, Ph.D., a visiting scholar at Columbia University Teacher's College and president of the New York City Cognitive Behavior Therapy Association, calls "the premier cognitive diffusion strategy." You choose a target of attention (usually the breath) to laser in on when intrusive thoughts take over. 

Why, why, why?

Have a conversation with yourself about the purpose of your thoughts. When do these patterns ebb and wain? Understanding more about your earwig can help banish with the help of diffusion strategies.

Describe your earwig

 I'll call mine Gustav. Says Hubbard, "take on the role of a passive observer." For example, there goes Gustav again, or Gustav is here again. Engaging with the loop will bring you back to reality and put you back in control again. 

Tell us more about your earwig on Twitter @bioticahealth

Happy thoughts!