There is a very effective way to stop intrusive thoughts which keep on fueling your anxiety.
It is simply a change in attitude with the Humor Based Technique.
By a change in attitude, I mean a change in the way you have been reacting to the intrusive thoughts.
A change in attitude will quickly disarm the emotional reaction you are having to the fearful thoughts. Once the emotional reaction has been significantly reduced‚ the anxious intrusive thoughts will dissipate.
In the past, you have probably tried to rid yourself of the thoughts by attempting to struggle free of them.
Elimination of Intrusive Thoughts needs a change in Attitude
The trick like many other anxiety/panic tricks‚ however, is not to attempt to be free of them but to have a new reaction to them when they run through your mind. We can never fully control what goes through our minds‚ but we can control how we react to what goes on there.
That is the key difference between someone who gets caught up in fearful thinking and someone who does not.
Intrusive thoughts are your own thoughts:
It is difficult to believe, right?
But the reality is: You create intrusive thoughts and you work hard to maintain them!
The thoughts that terrify us are not fuelled by some unknown force; they are our own. We empower them and equally we dismiss them.
When you have an uncomfortable thought you would rather not be thinking‚ your first reaction is usually tense up internally and say to yourself‚ “Oh no‚ I don’t like that idea.
I don’t want that thought right now.” The very act of trying to push these intrusive thoughts away and then understandably getting upset when that does not work causes the thoughts to become more stuck to your psyche.
It’s like saying to your mind over and over again “whatever you do‚ do not think of pink elephants‚” and guess what? You can’t get a single thought in that is not related to pink elephants.
As long as you struggle with the thought‚ your mind‚ like a bold child‚ will keep returning to it. This is not to say your mind is maliciously working against you.
It is better to compare the mind to a radar scanner that picks up on thoughts within us that have high levels of emotional reaction connected to them.
To not react emotionally to intrusive thoughts you need to learn to disempower the “fear factor” of the thought; then you must accept and be comfortable with whatever comes to mind.
Don’t hide from or push the anxious thoughts away.
Take an example:
Say you have fear of fainting or fear of confusion & craziness going on in your mind. That fear can be virtually anything your mind can conceive. You know the thoughts are not a realistic fear‚ and you want them to stop interrupting your life.
Next time the fearful thought comes to mind‚ do not push it away. This is important.
Tell yourself that that is fine and that the thought can continue to play in your mind if it wishes‚ but you are not going to give it much notice and you are certainly not going to qualify it by reacting with fear.
You know in your heart that the thought is very unlikely to happen. You have a deeper sense of trust and will not be tossed around emotionally all day by a thought.
Say to yourself:
“Well that thought/fear is a possibility‚ but it is very remote and I am not going to worry about that right now. Today I am trusting that all is well.”
What is of key importance is not to get upset by the thoughts and feelings as they arise. To avoid any fearful emotional reaction to the fear/thought gives the fearsome cartoon characteristics.
A Humor based technique to control Intrusive thoughts:
Imagine‚ for example,
It is Donald Duck telling you that “Something awful is going to happen.
Aren’t you scared?”
Give the character a squeaky voice and make it a totally ridiculous scene. How can you take seriously an anxious duck with his big feet?
The use of such a cartoon imagery reprograms the initial emotional reaction
This eliminates any authority the thought may have over you. You are reducing the thought’s threat. When that is done‚ move your attention back to whatever you were doing.
“You are not trying to push the thought away or drown it out with some outside stimulus.”
This takes practice in the beginning‚ but what will happen is that you will find yourself checking how you think/feel less and less during the day‚ and as it does not have a strong fearful emotion connected to it‚ your mind will not be drawn to troublesome intrusive thoughts.
To put in another way‚
The thought becomes unstuck and fades away because the emotional reaction has been neutralized. In fact‚ that is the first step to moving away from anxious thoughts — neutrality.
It is as if your mental energy was spinning in a negative cycle while you were caught in the anxious intrusive thoughts. Now‚ you are learning to stop the negative cycle.
From this new position of neutrality‚ you will experience a much greater sense of clarity away from the confusion of an overanxious mind. Moving into this mindset of neutrality is your first step.
The humor technique helps us to break the intrusive thought cycle and give us a sense of control. The next step is to adopt a relaxed peaceful state of mind and move your energy into a positive cycle of thinking.
Over to YOU
I have outlined the quickest and most effective way to do this by using a unique shift in attitude. You can undo years of anxious thinking and reduce your level of general anxiety very quickly.
You might have wondered why it is that some people seem more susceptible to worries and unwanted intrusive thoughts like “I am suffocating” compared to others. You now know the answer to that. The difference is that the people who seem carefree are the ones who are not reacting with a strong fearful emotion to an anxious thought.
These people see the same array of thoughts as an anxious person‚ but they do not make a fearful thought a part of their lives. They dismiss the thought or laugh it off and have a sense of trust that things will work out fine. They see no point in reacting with fear to these thoughts‚ and that ensures the thought has no power or authority over them. You can check out panic attack symptoms and their actual interpretation.
You may feel that you are by nature an anxious person and that you will always react with fear to these thoughts because you have done so for years. That is not the case.
You can undo years of anxious thinking and reduce your level of general anxiety very quickly.
All it takes is practice!
Begin practicing today!