How to Stop Intrusive Thoughts
5 Steps to Escape Your Head
Do you find it impossible to stop thinking about something, no matter how hard you try? Intrusive thoughts are those that enter your mind uninvited. Maybe they appear as images, words, phrases, or questions that catch you off guard. Perhaps it’s time for some tips on how to stop intrusive thoughts.
Recognize Your Intrusive Thoughts
The next time you have an unwanted thought pop into your head, take a minute to reflect on it. Ask yourself: Why am I having this thought? Where did it come from? Is it true or false? Will it harm me? If you can recognize your intrusive thoughts, you can begin to challenge them and deal with them accordingly.
Learn to Embrace Them
At times, you will find it impossible to switch off your thoughts. If you’re in a situation where you can’t ignore your intrusive thoughts, you can try to embrace them. For example, if you feel the urge to scream in the middle of the office, you could try to find out why this thought is coming up in your head: are you feeling stressed? Is there something going on in your life that is making you feel this way?
There are times when you will have no choice but to welcome your intrusive thoughts. And no matter how much you want them to leave, they won’t just go away. Your only option at this point is to distract yourself and try to get rid of them. One way to do this is to get up and do something that takes up a lot of your attention. Try listening to audio sessions “Compulsive Thoughts” with the Sensera app, it will help you distract and calm yourself. Whatever you do, don’t try to fight your thoughts — just let them come and go.
Use Mindfulness and Breathing Techniques
Mindfulness is a form of therapy that teaches you how to be aware of your thoughts and feelings, without judgment. It can help you to become less stressed, and anxious, and have a better relationship with your body. When you feel an intrusive thought coming on, try to take a few deep breaths, and then focus on something in your environment. Whenever you become aware of your intrusive thoughts again, just redirect your attention back to the present moment.
Talk to a Professional Therapist
Many people who experience intrusive thoughts want to talk to someone who can relate to what they’re experiencing, and a therapist can help you to navigate this difficult journey and get your life back on track. If you decide to see a therapist, you’ll need to find one that uses CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) to treat OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder). This type of therapy teaches you how to replace your obsessions with healthy, rational thoughts.
Intrusive thoughts can be very distressing and overwhelming when they occur. It can be hard to know how to react to them and what you can do to make them go away. It’s important to understand that they are normal thoughts, they are not caused by something being wrong with you, and they are treatable. With some self-awareness and self-care, you can better understand your intrusive thoughts and know how to stop them.
This article is written by a therapist from Sensera – a self-help app that provides daily CBT audio sessions and exercises. The app helps people deal with a variety of mental issues (anxiety, low self-esteem, relationship problems). Download Sensera now to become happier!