Combat Scary Intrusive Thoughts With These Easy Tips

Photo by ArcheiaMuriel on Flickr.com

 

Every mother has had those images or scenes pop into their mind that frighten them for a moment until reality sets back in.

Maybe you’ve thought about running out the door and driving away while your elementary school child yells at you about how he is not going to do his homework for the hundredth time.

Sometimes the thoughts are much worse that you don’t dare to even mention them. Well you are not alone – and we are here to help you get some relief!

These abrupt, and often terrible, images and scenarios that come into your mind without notice are called intrusive thoughts, and they can be crippling at times.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), more than 6 million individuals in the United States report having intrusive thoughts.

You have to imagine the statistics of people experiencing them is actually much higher. Have you ever reported yours to a medical professional?

So, what exactly would categorize as an intrusive thought? Would fantasizing about telling your mother-in-law off for never letting up on how inferior your cooking is count?

Not exactly.

Common intrusive thoughts, according to Medical News Today, are:

  • Sexual in nature, such as one’s sexuality or sexually harming others.
  • Relationship thoughts, such as obsessing over your partners faults or commitment.
  • Religious worry, such as constantly questioning your faith or worrying about going to hell.
  • Violent intrusive thoughts, such as being violent to yourself or others.

Any intrusive thought can bring about anxiety or depression by making you feel there is something wrong with you, or worrying about acting on your intrusive thoughts.

However, no matter how unhealthy you think your intrusive thoughts are, it is likely you do not have a medical condition requiring someone to lock you up for the images that have popped in your head.

First step in combatting intrusive thoughts is to know that you are not your thoughts.

It is easy to get down and out about yourself when you can’t stop thinking bad things about your kids, husband, or self, but thoughts are just that – thoughts.

Reminding yourself that you have had the strength to not act on your thoughts and that you realize the difference between right and wrong when a thought pops in your head is paramount.

Second step is to identify what triggers the intrusive thoughts.

Do you always get intrusive thoughts after a fight with your spouse or when you are feeling overwhelmed with the kids?

Oftentimes, stress is a trigger for intrusive thoughts, and while stress is impossible to avoid completely, you can at least prepare for it by speaking positive thoughts using a stressful situation.

Here are some tips to managing stress with your children, as Mommy Underground has previously reported.

Third step is to talk to someone about the intrusive thoughts you can’t get control of.

Share your struggles with intrusive thoughts with a trusted member of your support system, chances are they’ve had experience with them as well.

You don’t have to share the dirty or darkest secrets of your thoughts, but just that it’s bothering you and causing you to have negative feelings.

If you need to share more explicitly, you can always seek a mental health professional, preferably one who specializes in CBT therapy to help you transition out of negative thinking.

These tips are not all encompassing and no solution to intrusive thoughts is a magic pill, but addressing them head-on – no pun intended – is your best course of action.

Give yourself some grace when it comes to intrusive thoughts, after all, you recognize that you don’t want them there – which says everything about your truly good nature.

You are not a bad person for thinking bad thoughts and you can overcome them with self-care and work.

 

Comments are closed.