Dealing with Intrusive Thoughts
Updated: Jun 4
"Thoughts are only thoughts. They are not you. You do belong to yourself, even when your thoughts don't.” - John Green
Intrusive thoughts are unwanted thoughts that can pop up in our minds unannounced, at any time. Their repeated occurrence can make it hard to focus on daily tasks and sustain healthy relationships. They can manifest as symptoms of mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, and OCD. These intrusive thoughts can range from worry about irrational and unlikely events to disturbing or violent images. Dealing with intrusive thoughts is an important part of managing mental health conditions. It is important to recognize the signs of intrusive thoughts, understand their effects on our mental health, and develop strategies for dealing with them in a healthy way.
Intrusive thoughts can be a major source of stress and anxiety. They can lead to rumination and negative self-talk, which can make it difficult to focus on the present moment.
Identify the thought as intrusive
Don't fight with it
Don't judge yourself
Developing emotional awareness
Practicing mindful breathing and meditation
Practice reframing your thoughts
Cultivate compassion for yourselves
Journal about your experiences.
Talk to your therapist about your intrusive thoughts
Normalizing the occurrence of intrusive thought
Refraining from trying to make sense/understand of why your brain created these intrusive thoughts
By utilizing these strategies, we can gain greater control over our minds and reduce the impact of intrusive thoughts in our lives. See a therapist if intrusive thoughts are starting to negatively impact your daily life, especially if they’re impacting your ability to work or to do things you enjoy. But it doesn't have to get that bad for you to connect with a therapist, even if intrusive thoughts aren’t affecting your life in a significant way, you can still reach out to get some support.