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How often do you come across thoughts that have no relevance, yet you can’t get over them? The annoying part is that you can’t even ignore them! Somehow, they just keep popping in your head, eventually disturbing your mind and making things difficult for you. These unwanted thoughts are intrusive thoughts. Nearly everyone has them, but no one can control them. They won’t harm you much unless they appear too often and start interrupting your daily life. Intrusive thoughts can be violent, negative or sexual thoughts. You can’t simply ignore them, but you can get rid of them by dealing with them.
Remember, intrusive thoughts are just thoughts. These thoughts are not a sign of what’s to come, and there is no intent to act on them. Let them pass freely through your mind and recognize them, but do not allow them to consume you. By acknowledging intrusive thoughts as just another thought, you’ll be less likely to worry about them over time.
Keeping a journal of your intrusive thoughts can help you understand patterns over time. Keep a record of your overall mood, and notes about your day. As you start to notice similar thoughts appearing over time, refer back to those notes, and see if you can identify any patterns.
Intrusive thoughts are the most upsetting, when you give them power over how they make you feel. There might not be ways to control the thoughts, but there are ways to control how you react to these thoughts, like letting them flow by. Give time and let the thoughts flow by.
For many people, the first reaction they have when faced with an intrusive thought is to try to forget about it. The more you try to push these thoughts away, the more you will end up thinking about them. The best way to deal with an issue is to “deal” with them. Write down your thoughts or talk to someone about it and pour it all out.
Throughout the course of your day, if an intrusive thought comes up, postpone it by reminding yourself that you’ll think about it later, and then redirect your attention elsewhere. To do this, create a dedicated time each day or once a week, when you deliberately recall, think about or write down your unwanted intrusive thoughts.
Mostly, when we experience intrusive thoughts, we start blaming ourselves and get anxious. Remind yourself that these thoughts are automatic, unimportant, and not up to you.