In “What To Do When Your Brain Gets Stuck: A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming OCD,” author Dawn Huebner, Ph.D., offers a useful analogy for those of us who need to read kids’ books to understand our neurosis.
Think of your brain like a garbage pail, which needs to sort what gets thrown away and what stays. Then literally draw the trashcan and the thoughts that are floating around inside. Circle the things that are worth keeping (or thinking about), put an X over the things that should be discarded (don’t justify the brain power), and mark with a question mark those things that you’re not sure about. I’m going to add a fourth category: a place of purgatory for the thoughts that you know are important but can stop obsessing about. Example: I have a decision floating in my neural passageways for which I have already run the numbers 245 times and flipped 15 coins (10 heads, 5 tails – but I still don’t know). It’s time to put that baby to rest by simply moving it over to the “to sort later” pile.