If you are an anxiety sufferer, then it’s likely that you suffer from a variety of intrusive thoughts which can really ruin your day. But what can you do if you want to learn how to stop intrusive thoughts? Well, in this guide, we’re going to address this subject in detail, and we will also give you a tactic that really works. With this in mind, let’s get straight to it.
First of all, it’s worth understanding what intrusive thoughts really are. For most people, intrusive thoughts are simply the kind of thoughts which enter your mind and seem to give you little control over when they leave. You’ll often find these thoughts come in the form of unwanted memories, which is often typical of people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
However, the thoughts can often be violent or sexual in nature as well – and this can be quite disconcerting for people who have little control over their way of thinking. Common themes include shame related thoughts, as well as imagining doing aggressive things which you would normally never actually act upon in real life.
What’s more, intrusive thoughts are often linked with certain anxiety disorders such as social phobia, generalized anxiety disorder, and even obsessive-compulsive disorder. When intrusive thoughts are combined with these mental health issues, your life can often feel very overwhelming, and you may feel like you’re no longer in control. In some extreme cases, this can also lead to depersonalization disorder.
So now that you have a thorough understanding of what intrusive thoughts are, what can you do about them?
One strategy which many people find effective is something called mindfulness meditation. These techniques originally came from Buddhist monks, but there’s very little religion involved, and these days it’s possible to find a variety of secular meditation techniques which required no faith at all.
Interestingly studies have shown on countless occasions that these meditation techniques can cause real changes in the brain, and ultimately give you far more control over your ability to control your thoughts.
In particular, it’s best to start off with a simple 20 minutes a day meditation, where you sit comfortably and follow your breath. Each time you notice a thought intrude on your peace, simply make note of thought without following it, and then return your attention back to your breath.
It’s normal to find this process very frustrating at first, and you may find you can’t go more than a few seconds without a thought intruding. However, even when this happens, it’s important to accept this in a calm and relaxed way, without frustration, and simply return back to your point of focus, which in this exercise ñ will be your breath.
At first, this exercise can be very difficult, but if you are persistent and attempts to do it for 20 minutes every day over the course of several weeks, you will soon find your willpower strengthening and your ability to control thoughts will be vastly improved. If you commit to this process for several months, you will really feel a huge difference in your life, and you’ll ultimately know how to stop intrusive thoughts at will.