This is how intrusive thoughts give way to anxiety

Poor anxiety management is one of the most common problems in people undergoing psychotherapy and in the general population. This psychological phenomenon quite often degenerates into psychopathologies, but even if it does not constitute a disorder, it can cause significant discomfort in everyday life.

One of the reasons why these psychological disorders associated with anxiety can be triggered by various factors that occur a lot in all types of people: insecurities and problems of self-esteem in front of a project or a social context, overload of work, partner problems, drug use, etc. In this article, we’ll take a look at which one of these things is that causes anxiety: rumination based on intrusive thoughts.

    What is psychological rumination?

    Psychological rumination is a vicious cycle in which our mind is subjected to an almost constant back and forth of intrusive thoughts that disturb us and cause us discomfort.

    It is a very common phenomenon that happens to almost everyone at different times in life.: That boring feeling of not being able to get a thought or an image out of your head, this mental content being something that makes us feel bad: a memory of something we’ve done and what we’re ashamed of, a hypothesis how badly we have been in front of someone, a prognosis for the severity of an important exam, and so on.

    like that, psychological rumination works cyclically based on intrusive thoughts (So ​​called because they enter our consciousness even though we don’t want to attract them to it) and this makes us more and more vulnerable to them, as we become more and more desperate to see that we are not able to detach a few.

    Paradoxically, the same fear of suffering again because of intrusive thoughts draws them into our consciousness, and this makes us feel that we are doing what we are doing, we will feel bad and we will be distracted by our own thoughts. , the unpleasant emotional load will prevent us from focusing on things to improve our situation.

    How do you switch from intrusive thoughts to anxiety issues?

    Considering what we’ve seen so far about intrusive thoughts and psychological rumination, it’s no surprise that these are a cause for anxiety. This cycle of feelings and mental images that disturb us or even hurt us emotionally deteriorates our mood and predisposes us to go into a state of alert to try to take control of what goes in and out of our own consciousness, without it. reach.

    However, it is also true that rumination and intrusive thoughts they are both causes of anxiety and consequences of it. When we start to feel anxious, it is easier for us to interpret everything from a pessimistic perspective and to direct our memory towards what may give us reason to worry.

    On the other hand, there are several aspects of intrusive thoughts that connect them with anxiety. They are as follows.

    1. They have an avoidant component

    Ruminating is closely related to worry, however being a cyclical phenomenon, it paralyzes us. This is because it directs our attention to our own mind, and not so much to finding solutions.

    This is why it is often said that it has an avoidant component: directing attention to these intrusive thoughts is a way of sabotaging ourselves.

    2. They make us look for distractions

    In an attempt to dispel the discomfort generated by intrusive thoughts, it is common for us to give in to impulses that promise us instant pleasurable sensations with the ability to distract us: Eat without hunger, browse our social media updates, watch videos on the Internet, etc.

    These kinds of supposed remedies only provide very short-term solutions, and over time we learn to associate them with anxiety, so that just doing or thinking about them can lead to our mind.

      3. Waste of time makes us more anxious

      Because of the above, we waste time and notice that we are increasingly in a worse position when it comes to doing something to fix what is worrying us or what makes us feel bad ( for example, let’s leave the days without studying for a test, because always thinking about it and the problem it poses exhausts us emotionally and we don’t have the strength to devote more time to it).

      4. Prolonged discomfort all this time harms our mental health

      Finally, we must not forget that the mere fact of having spent a lot of time turning over things that make us feel bad is something that and in itself makes our nervous system activated because we notice that we have a problem. that we need to resolve as soon as possible. as possible. It means having even more anxiety, produced by one’s own anxiety..

      Are you interested in psychotherapeutic help for anxiety?

      Fortunately, anxiety issues and all that goes with it can be overcome with psychological therapy. If you suffer from anxiety issues or any other type of emotional disorder that causes you discomfort, contact me. I am a psychologist and neuropsychologist dedicated to the care of patients of all ages, and I offer face-to-face and online video calling sessions. On this page, you will find more information about my services, as well as my contact details.

      Bibliographical references:

      • American Psychiatric Association -APA- (2014). DSM-5. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Madrid: Panamericana.
      • Dickson, K .; Ciesla, JA; Reilly, LC (December 2011). “Rumination, Worry, Cognitive Avoidance, and Behavior Avoidance: A Review of Temporal Effects.” Behavioral therapy. 43 (3): pages 937 to 959.
      • Joormann, J .; Dkane, M .; Gotlib, IH (2006). Adaptive and maladaptive components of the rumie? Diagnostic specificity and relationship with depressive bias. Behavioral therapy, 37 (3): pages 269-280.
      • Magee, JC and Teachman, BA (2012). Anxiety and recurrence of intrusive thoughts in younger and older adults. Psychology and Aging, 27 (1): p. 199 – 210.
      • Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (2000). The role of rumination in depressive disorders and mixed depressive symptoms of anxiety. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 109 (3): pages 504-511.
      • Papageorgiou, C .; Wells, A. (2004). Depressive rumination: nature, theory and treatment. West Sussex: John Wiley and sons.

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