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How to Beat Intrusive Thoughts

At one point or another, everyone has experienced some sort of intrusive thoughts. Oftentimes people ponder techniques on how to beat intrusive thoughts. Avoid the thoughts, think about something else, and hope for the best seems to be the most obvious answer. However, the reality is that, nine times out of ten, the thought will resurface. It is natural for the mind to turn to negative thoughts sometimes, however when these intrusive thoughts become more and more frequent, and harder to manage it can be a challenge to living a productive life. There are tips to managing these thoughts, but understanding what they are and what can contribute to them is important as well.

What are Intrusive Thoughts?

Disturbing in nature, intrusive thoughts are thoughts that occur without probing. They are unwanted, and involuntary. They tend to just pop up and are often recurring making them seem as though they are controlling your life. These intrusive thoughts can be violent, sexually explicit, disturbing or surround things that the person finds to be against their normal belief system and morals. 

More often than not these thoughts can surround subject matter such as:

  • Harming oneself
  • Hurting loved ones
  • Falling ill
  • Sexually graphic fantasies
  • Death of loved ones

These are only a few of the common themes seen in these thoughts. There are different things that can be implemented into day to day life that can help you learn how to beat intrusive thoughts.

What Causes Intrusive Thoughts?

There are a wide variety of causes for these thoughts. Mainly, these intrusive thoughts can be attributed to mental health concerns such as anxiety disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, and post traumatic stress disorder. However, mental health concerns are not the only cause. Those who do not suffer with mental health can also suffer with intrusive thoughts. 

Managing Intrusive Thoughts

Understanding ways on how to beat intrusive thoughts can help to manage them, and turn the negative thoughts into a positive light. Although sometimes getting rid of the thoughts may be impossible, when you turn to healthy coping skills, you can navigate through them and find a way to make it through them with minimal discomfort.

Diversion

Letting the thoughts occur, rather than trying to push them away and then trying to distract yourself with an enjoyable activity like reading a book, or listening to music can help to engage the mind elsewhere so that the thought can be forgotten, even if momentarily.

Identify Triggers

Sometimes these thoughts stem from some outside factor, so understanding what triggers your thoughts can help you learn how to beat them. If you identify a person or environment as a triggering factor, you can then take pains to remove that from your day-to-day life.

Changes in Routine

Having a healthy and positive daily routine can keep you on a course to a more positive mindset. When you are in the beginning stages of these thoughts, having a routine to turn to can help to beat intrusive thoughts by distracting your mind to things you usually would be doing.

Keep a Journal

Putting pen to paper can help you to externalize the thought and try to get it out of your mind. Getting the thoughts out of your head and onto paper is a healthy way of removing the thought from your mind, and allowing you to process it rather than dwelling in the thought and the feelings associated with it.

Talk About It

Speaking the thoughts out loud can be one of the best ways you can beat intrusive thoughts. Expressing it out loud in a safe space can help you to properly process it and free your mind of it. If you don’t talk about it and the feelings it brings up, it can lead to unhealthy ways of coping. Of course, one of the most productive ways to talk through your feelings is while in group or individual therapy.

Take a Walk

Removing yourself from the environment where the thoughts are occurring, when they are happening, can help to make them less intrusive. Having a distraction like being outside walking and being present and in the moment, listening to the natural sounds going on around you can help you to focus on your surroundings rather than the thoughts that are causing the distress. You can distract yourself and your mind until the thoughts pass. 

Get Help in Marietta, GA

Intrusive thoughts can be detrimental to everyday life. They can prevent someone from living the life they desire to live, and cause emotional turmoil. If you or a loved one are struggling with these intrusive thoughts and in need of help, we at Empowered Recovery Center can help. Our team can help you navigate ways of living with these thoughts or even overcoming them. Contact us today and begin your journey to a happier, healthier life.

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    Marietta, GA 30066

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