Intrusive thoughts are normal. Let me say that again.... Intrusive thoughts are NORMAL.
Absolutely anyone can experience intrusive thoughts. in fact, in my polls I consistently get over 90% of people saying 'yes, I experience intrusive thoughts!" - research backs this figure up!
And while most of us don't tell anyone about them, they are actually very common and NOT a sign of 'mental illness' OR intention to act on them.
Intrusive thoughts tend to alarm you, or freak you out... because they are sudden, persistent and often graphic, violent or disturbing to us.
👉 Of course intrusive thoughts can be a symptom of OCD, anxiety & depresson, but usually they are harmless and happen to any of us.
Intrusive thoughts are actually a kind of threat response - or rather... they get stuck because they set off our threat response. Our brains have evolved to keep us safe and like to think of allllll the possible terrible things that could happen - that's where the intrusive thought pops in - your brain brining your attention to possible threats it DOESN'T want to happen. And then your brain reacting to these thoughts... applying meaning to them.. freaking out about them... creating fear pathways and resisting them.
🚙 So yes, when you're driving your car and think of veering off the road, of course that could be a thought that scares you.... you might question if you are going crazy or worry that youre going to act on it.. but actually, so long as you havent actually acted on them then it is really just your brain alerting you to a possible danger so you DON'T veer off the road.
It's the nature of the thoughts that make them get stuck - because they alarm you and then you fixate on them. You try to understand where they came from and wonder what's wrong with you.
Check out these common intrusive thoughts:
💛💭 How can you manage intrusive thoughts?
Firstly - know they are normal!
Understand that they are your bodies threat response; your brain is doing it's job.
Tell yourself they DON'T mean anything. Thoughts are just thoughts.
Remind yourself they don't signal an intention to act on them
They are, what i like to call, 'junk thoughts'. They don't serve you and they're not true.
Try to simply acknowledge the thought and continuing with what you were doing
Use grounding and mindfulness techniques to bring you back to the present and to your senses
Try a 'sharp sensory grounding' tool (like the ones in my course)
Practice deep belly breathing, with the intention of allowing the thought to be, not with the intention of getting rid of it and the anxiety it creates
Sit with the discomfort, reminding yourself the thought isn't dangerous and it doesn't signify an intention
Chat to a counsellor/therapist if you are concerned, struggling or the thoughts are affecting your ability to enjoy life
If you are struggling with intrusive thoughts and worries that get stuck, then I have a webinar/mini online lecture just for you. You can register for $9.99 here:
If you're reading this after the 25th June 2021 - no fear, I've got the webinar recorded and you can buy it in my store here: https://www.journeytowellness.online/shop
Keen to take a course to teach you to ground yourself?
I have a 30 day guided course that could really help you manage your intrusive thoughts
Check it out here:
Or you might like to try my anxiety course, here: