“The equipment used in connection with this operation will consist of the following items: 1 unopened newspaper; 1 sterile can opener; 1 large sterile plate; 1 sterile fork; 1 sterile spoon; 2 sterile brushes; 2 bars of soap; sterile paper towels.”
That is part of a long memo from Howard Hughes on how to open a can of fruit without contaminating it.
Hughes struggled with what is now known as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), which involves “repetitive, unwanted, anxiety-producing thoughts and compulsive rituals intended to protect against anxiety.”
But some psychologists note being obsessed isn’t always a disorder.
Eric Maisel, PhD notes, “The common wisdom of therapy has it that obsessions are always bad things.
“But suppose a person is caught up thinking day and night about her current painting or about the direction she wants to take her art?
“Thoughts about painting “intrude” as she balances her checkbook or prepares her shopping list. She can hardly wait to get to her studio… This artist is obsessed in an everyday sense of the word – and more than happy to be so!”
From his article In Praise of Positive Obsessions.
But we don’t have to suffer from OCD or some clinical disorder to have talent-limiting and life-disrupting anxious thoughts.
In his article How to eliminate intrusive thoughts, Joe Barry McDonagh explains, “In almost all cases of general anxiety, the driving factor fueling the sensations is anxious thinking.
“People who experience anxiety and panic attacks frequently have to deal with the negative side-effects of unwanted thoughts that creep into their minds. These thoughts can range from worries about health, concern over loved ones, or even fears that do not make any rational sense at all but continue to linger in the mind.”
He is author of the Panic Away Program that many people have found effective for dealing with anxiety and panic.
See list: Articles on relieving anxiety and stress.