Intrusive thoughts: why they appear and how to deal with them

Have you ever found yourself immersed in a loop of thoughts that you don’t know how to get out of? Have you had the uncomfortable feeling that you couldn’t “get” an idea that hurts you out of your mind? As if it was a catchy song, do you feel unable to think clearly because the background melody of some repetitive thoughts continually resonates?

If you think these examples explain your situation, chances are you are a habitual victim of intrusive thoughts. Below we’ll see what exactly they are.

Intrusive thoughts

Obsessions are intrusive, repetitive, and disturbing thoughts that remain in our minds for long periods of time despite attempts to fight or run away. It is these intrusive thoughts that we don’t want to have as we are aware of their uselessness / dysfunction and yet they end up coming back to us over and over again, disturbing our calmness and making it difficult to concentrate.

If you don’t work on itThese intrusive thoughts can end up becoming the backbone of our lives, Because if we put our full attention on them, we exclude the reality that surrounds us. We feel unable to redirect our attention to other stimuli because obsessive thinking governs everything. Thinking and rethinking things is perhaps one of the most common problems in our society, causing problems of anxiety, suffering, disability …

How are obsessions generated?

Obsessions arise because people have developed the illusion of absolute controllability. We want to have everything under our control because we haven’t learned to tolerate uncertainty, however this illusion collapses again and again when he sees that certain circumstances in life are out of control, For example illnesses or the behavior of others.

Obsessive thoughts can also arise when we find ourselves in the situation of having to make a decision and not knowing what to choose from the possibilities. We walk around it for days, months or even years, falling into the trap of immobilizing obsession, without realizing that not to decide is already to decide.

Giorgio Nardone he explains in his book “I think that I then suffer” that doubts are the springboard of our creative thought, but also the spring of obsessive thought. In the first case, the doubt is dominated and directed, leading to the discovery of new thoughts. In the second, it is fought and repressed, and becomes the tyrant who pursues thought.

Since it is very likely that we will never be sure that the decision we are making is the right one, it is advisable to take the time strictly necessary to assess the pros and cons and then to decide, taking the responsibility that we have. made a mistake and learn to abandon the path we have decided not to take.

Dispute between thoughts

Our conscious being tends to to rationally reject those intrusive thoughts that disturb us. This is normal, because if you stop to think, you will find that there are enough stressful facts to cause us to live with constant discomfort if our attention cannot drift away from them.

Therefore, it is likely that a struggle will sometimes break out between rational thoughts and irrational or uncomfortable thoughts. On the one hand, these uncomfortable thoughts, being “forbidden” they have a lot of potential to catch our attention. On the other hand, the part of thoughts and feelings that we can tolerate should not be large enough to “cover” all of our reality, without leaving gaps.

However, the paradox occurs that to think that we don’t want to think about something is to focus our attention on it, and there is the frustration of wanting to erase a thought from our mind and achieve the opposite effect: strengthening it. .

How do you deal with intrusive thoughts?

Obsessive thoughts are a symptom that alerts us to something. That is why one of the first steps should be to pull the strings (only if we see ourselves trained, or in the company of a trained professional) to know where they come from and why they stay and to be able to work on them from the root.

If we don’t, the cause that drives these intrusive thoughts into our consciousness will continue to do so, and not only that, but we will gradually succumb to the force of the stress. Therefore, it is necessary to go beyond the immediate symptoms and seek out the causes behind this phenomenon.

In addition to this, we can use a number of tactics for properly handling intrusive thoughts and reduce its impact on our lives.

1. Detachment from thoughts

Discover and accept that you are not your thoughts. However, you don’t decide what comes to your mind or not. you can select what interests you and want to stay, and send the rest to the SPAM folder.

When the thought arises, it is useless to fight it, because it will become stronger. Find out why this is popping up in your mind, then decide if you need to focus on it. Otherwise say goodbye and see how it goes.

It is an exercise that takes effort and practice, and it is normal to find at the beginning that the results are not what you expected or that it is very difficult for you to dissociate yourself. But if you work constantly, you will find that eventually they lose strength and disappear.

Engage in activities that encourage focus, attention and self-control.

Training your mind in techniques such as meditation, yoga, or mindfulness will help you gain control over your own thoughts and you will learn to focus your attention on other areas when recurring thoughts arise.

2. Exercise frequently

Thoughts are energy, and it is much easier to control them when we have released the excess energy that our body generates. This is why daily physical exercise will help us have a clearer and more relaxed mind as the intensity of recurring thoughts decreases.

3. Daily dedication to reflecting on disturbing thoughts

If you wear it for a long time returning some thoughtAnd you don’t see yourself able to leave without more, to spend 15 minutes a day, always at the same time and in the same place, thinking about it only and exclusively. You can take notes and leave your thoughts in writing to gain productivity, but as soon as the alarm goes off and alerts you that a quarter of an hour has passed, you can only rethink the subject the next day.

4. Avoid talking all the time about recurring thoughts.

Seeking peace of mind or people’s opinions all the time is a double-edged sword. On the other hand, it produces temporary calm or “relief” but, on the other hand, it encourages and reinforces the maintenance of the problem as well as the feeling that we are not able to solve it on our own. which generates feelings of low self-esteem and interpersonal dependence.

When to contact a professional?

If recurring thoughts have become an obsessive vicious cycle that you cannot let go of, they affect your daily life and rob you of a considerable quality of life. it is recommended to consult a specialist with whom you can analyze your situation, Find out what causes obsessions to develop and persist, and learn tools that will help you learn to think healthier and more effectively on your own.

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