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How to Manage Intrusive Thoughts

Intrusive thoughts can be really scary especially when you don't understand why you're having them and where they're coming from. Intrusive thoughts are the types of thoughts that tend to come about out of nowhere and stop you in your tracks. They can be violent, morbid, disturbing, or even self-deprecating in nature which can make you feel simply bothered or even an all out panic! Either way, once we understand what intrusive thoughts are and where they come from we can then be able to manage them better.

Intrusive thoughts often accompany mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. They have a tendency to stick around longer than you'd like and eventually these thoughts can turn into rumination. The thing to keep in mind is that these thoughts continue to exist because they have become habit and in order to get rid of them it is a matter of developing a new, functional habit. Sometimes these thoughts can be scary in nature (such as having to do with death, dying, or gore) and while this can be scary, it's important to remind yourself that they are just thoughts. Other times, you might be beating yourself up or simply overly focusing on the negative and can't seem to get out of this negative cycle.

Thoughts do not have any power until you give them power and you are in control of deciding how you want to respond to them.

Here are some examples of intrusive thoughts:

1) Black-or-white thinking

2) Overly focusing on the negative

3) Reading others' minds and assume what they're thinking

4) Predicting a negative future

5) Magnifying mistakes

6) Thoughts are true or fact

Here are some things you can do to manage intrusive thoughts:

1) Divert to other activities

2) Get into action

3) Talk to yourself positively - find the good in the incident

4) Accept the thoughts - just let them be there

5) Write it down






Blue Sage Counseling and Wellness, and the information provided by Ashley Francis, is solely intended for informational and entertainment purposes and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis, or treatment regarding medical or mental health conditions. Although Ashley Francis is a licensed marriage and family therapist, the views expressed on this site or any related content should not be taken for medical or psychiatric advice. Always consult your physician before making any decisions related to your physical or mental health.

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