How would your day be if you were able to beat intrusive thoughts?
You would have a greater self control and good time if you were able to control those disturbing thoughts.
Many people ask me how to beat intrusive thoughts that are always bugging them in their everyday life. In almost all cases of Panic Disorder and related anxiety, one thing goes common. The driving factor for intrusive thoughts and sensations is anxious thinking. You would say that the intrusive thoughts are automatic and you have very little control over them. The fact is that no doubt intrusive thoughts are automatic but anxious thinking aggravates them and makes you susceptible to high anxiety. Without addressing these specific intrusive thoughts anxiety and panic disorder‚ there can be little success in eliminating the fear of anxiety. People who experience anxiety and panic attacks often deal with the negative side–effects of unwanted thoughts that creep into their minds.
Do you always wonder how to beat intrusive thoughts? For that, you need to understand how you actually feel…
This is what intrusive thoughts make you feel:
Intrusive thoughts examples: one of the common intrusive thoughts examples
Imagine you get a general phone call from your mother and at the end, she says that she is fine but she has had a mild chest pain. That short phone call instantly whips your brain and you find yourself worrying in no time. You think she is on the verge of having a massive heart attack. You start hearing the ambulance alarm and the emergency room noises of a big hospital. At a point in time, you literally believe that she is going to die. You imagine almost every worst case scenario in your capacity. You not only do this for a real deceased relative but also for healthy people. Many anxiety sufferers have told me that they often worry about their close friends and relative who are healthy and happy. You might have fallen into such situations many times in your day to day life and that is why you are probably wondering on how to beat intrusive thoughts and spells of anxiety.
Also Read: 4 Clever Anxiety Hacks no one talks about
The nature of intrusive thoughts: Do intrusive thoughts mean anything?
Intrusive thoughts are always negative and are disturbing but they do not serve any purpose in anxiety. Most often they arise from the irrational belies that are rooted in the minds of sufferers. They represent your life problems, your fears, your insecurities, your guilt and your negatives. These thoughts come from worries about health, concerns over loved ones or also the fears that do not make any rational sense. Many times the trigger of these intrusive thoughts is the previous life experiences and otherwise, they are just the thoughts arising from the precociousness that always have an essence of anxiety in them. Those living with panic disorder and anxiety experience bizarre thoughts and imageries to the extent they are always worried as to why such strange thoughts are occurring to them. So, do intrusive thoughts mean anything? Actually not much since their origin lies in the irrationality of the human mind! If they were helpful, you probably wouldn’t need to read this article!
In all these cases‚ the person is upset by the anxious thoughts because they are causing distress and worry. I will guide you through one simple process that will help you cope and take control of your anxious intrusive thoughts.
Dealing with anxious thoughts in anxiety and panic:
Tackling anxious intrusive thinking effectively requires a two-pronged approach. To eliminate the negative thinking patterns‚ there needs to be a shift in attitude along with specific visualization tools.
The Attitude Shift is going to be the First Step
How to beat intrusive thoughts naturally? The answer is tricky but simple. It is not the intrusive thoughts in themselves that cause you distress. It is how you are responding to those thoughts. It is the reaction you are having to the thoughts that enable them to have influence and power over you. In order to better understand how unwanted thoughts come about‚, it helps to paint a playful visual picture of how this happens. This is a fictional example and will help you better understand how to deal with the issue.
You are standing on a street and all around you thoughts are floating lazily by. Some of the thoughts are your own‚ other thoughts are from outside sources you access such as newspapers‚ TV‚ magazines‚ etc. You notice that when you pay attention to a thought it gravitates nearer. The thoughts you ignore float on by.
When you focus and examine a thought up closely‚ you notice how it connects to another similar thought‚ and you find yourself jumping from one thought to the next. Sometimes these are the practical‚ day–to–day thoughts such as bills‚ chores‚ etc.‚ or the thoughts can theme by the past or a fantasy/daydream.
In our imagined scenario‚
You unexpectedly notice a thought hovering in front of you that scares you. This thought is called “Fear X.” X could be panic attacks‚ ill health‚ or something bizarre. You find it impossible not to look at the thought‚ and as you give it your full attention‚ this causes it to come closer and closer. When you examine the thought‚ you begin to react with fear as you do not like what you see. You further notice how that initial scary thought is connected to more worrying “what if” thoughts that you also examine in detail. The more you try to escape from the thought by pushing it away‚ the more it seems to follow you around as if it were stuck to you. You try to focus on more pleasant thoughts‚ but you find yourself continuously coming back to the fearful thought. Same is the case with false memory intrusive thoughts.
How to beat Intrusive Thoughts: The anticipation of Anxiety
There is an expression of “thoughts sticking like glue”
The very act of reacting emotionally to the thought glues the thought all the more to you‚ and the more time you spend worrying and obsessing about the thought‚ the more that glue becomes hardened over time. The thought and all its associated connected thoughts are there in the morning when you wake and there at night when you are trying to get some sleep.
Thoughts are a form of energy‚ neither good nor bad. It is how we judge those thoughts that determines how much impact they have on our lives. Thoughts need firstly to be fed by attention‚ but what they really love is a good strong emotional reaction to make them stick!
Thoughts that stay with us are first attracted to us by the attention we pay them and then stuck firmly in place by the level of emotional reaction we have to them.
The effect of attention on intrusive thoughts: Do intrusive thoughts go away?
A thought–even negative intrusive thoughts–can only have an influence on you if you allow it to. The emotional reaction from us is a thought’s energy source. What’s interesting is that either a positive or a negative emotional reaction is fine for the thought. Energy and attention are what it is attracted to. Once you are having an emotional reaction to a thought‚ you will be regularly drawn to that thought until the emotional reaction has lost its energy and faded away.
If someone you know pays you a very positive compliment‚ you may find yourself unintentionally drawn to that thought anytime you have a spare moment. You probably find it improves your overall level of confidence and mood throughout the day.
Sadly, however, we tend to focus less on the positive and more on the negative. We seem to forget those positive compliments all too easily and are drawn more frequently to what might upset us. Taking the opposite example‚ if someone you know insults you‚ I am sure that you find the emotional reaction to that thought much more intense and probably very long–lasting.
So how to beat intrusive thoughts with a goal of life improvement?
If you are not engaged in an activity or task‚ your mind will tend to wander to any thoughts that you are having a strong emotional reaction to. In general, the ones that you are probably reacting most strongly to‚ angry or fearful thoughts, seem to surface quickly and invade the peace of your mind.
Dealing with anxious thoughts: Suppressing won’t help!
What I am suggesting is that suppressing the Intrusive thoughts in panic disorder is the most ineffective way to get rid of them. Thought suppression studies‚ (Wegner‚ Schneider‚ Carter‚ & White‚ 1987) have proven that the very act of trying to suppress a thought‚ only results in a higher frequency of unwanted intrusive thoughts occurring. This reoccurrence of the thought has been termed the ‘rebound effect’.
Effects of suppressing intrusive thoughts:
- YOU empower the negative effects of intrusive thoughts.
- YOU never get out of the anxious thought cycle
- YOU increase the susceptibility to intense anxiety and panic attacks
- YOU never understand the true benefit of giving them up!
If you are looking for natural remedies for intrusive thoughts you should be very capable of not to suppress the intrusive thoughts. Learning to tolerate them and leaning towards accepting intrusive thoughts is key to overcoming them. Same is the case with anxiety. If you thoroughly understand and accept the mindset I am presenting in this blog post you will not require medication for intrusive thoughts in anxiety. I have written another post on overcoming anxiety and panic attacks.
Now you have a better understanding of how to beat intrusive thoughts. Now it is your turn to shift your life from hell to mental peace.