9 Ways to Cope With Intrusive Thoughts

Last Update on April 22, 2022 : Published on April 24, 2022
Ways-to-Cope-With-Intrusive-Thoughts

Intrusive thoughts are among the many other types of thoughts that we have in our entire life. Thoughts cannot be tamed, they occur on their own wish and will. Intrusive thoughts are the ones that leave you feeling miserable.

The human mind is very powerful and is a sadist (if i had to define the mind). I call it a sadist because the mind chooses to do exactly what we don’t want it to do. Intrusive thoughts are one of the sadistic acts of the mind.

Intrusive thoughts are mostly involuntary and destructive & distressing in nature. These are the thoughts that come into our consciousness and fill us with a lot of stress. The negativity in these thoughts often make us feel uncomfortable. The best way to deal with intrusive thoughts is to learn different ways of overcoming unwanted intrusive thoughts.

In this blog we will discuss different ways to deal with intrusive thoughts but before that let’s first understand what intrusive thoughts really are?

Let’s begin…

What Are Intrusive Thoughts?

Intrusive thoughts are the thoughts that pop up in your head without invitation or any warning. They almost all the time have a negative perspective and can render restlessness and stress to someone who is having them.

Intrusive thoughts are the negative thoughts that cause distress and disturbs the mental peace of the person having them. These thoughts are unwanted and are observed to occur time and again without any warning.

Let me explain these obsessive thoughts with the help of some examples…

Examples of intrusive thoughts;

  • Obsessive thoughts of causing harm to a baby/child,
  • Obsessive thoughts of being violent,
  • Obsessive doubt provoking thoughts,
  • Thoughts that recall painful memories,
  • Obsessive thoughts that cause worry about catching an illness,
  • Obsessive thoughts about embarrassing yourself in front of others,
  • Thoughts of the death of your loved ones, etc.

Have you now understood what these obsessive thoughts look like which are being generated by your intrusive thinking?

Do you identify with any of the above-mentioned thoughts? I hope not but if yes, you will need to learn how to overcome intrusive thoughts and I am here to help you with just that. Let’s look at some ways to cope with intrusive thoughts…


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How To Overcome Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts?

Overcome Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts

I hope you have understood the meaning of intrusive thoughts but now it’s time to understand ways to overcome them. Intrusive thoughts in anxiety are also very common in people with anxiety. In fact, intrusive thoughts and anxiety share a strong bond wherein they foster each other simultaneously.

Let’s look at a different way of dealing with intrusive thoughts in anxiety and otherwise as well;

1. It’s just a phase:

you should remember that intrusive thoughts come and go in phases. Even though you may feel like these obsessive thoughts are not leaving your mind, just say to yourself, “This too shall pass”. Trust me, believing that it will pass will give you hope to deal with the disturbance caused by intrusive thoughts.

2. Use ‘thought clouds’ technique:

the ‘thought clouds’ is a mindfulness technique in which you are supposed to imagine a sky with lots of different clouds. Some clouds are light and airy whereas others are dark and dense. These dark clouds are your intrusive thoughts. Let these dark and dense clouds flow away from you.

3. Have a support pet:

according to experts pets have the power to calm you down and make you feel relaxed. Therefore, whenever you feel overwhelmed because of your intrusive thoughts, consider spending some quality time with your pets.

4. Don’t internalize your intrusive thoughts:

intrusive thoughts have the capability to make you feel like all those thoughts are true. Such feelings directly have an impact on your mental health. You can try vocalizing your intrusive thoughts or even try writing them down so that you are out of your system and you can challenge them.

5. Learn to be in the present moment:

being aware of the present will help you in keeping yourself calm and at peace. Intrusive thoughts will only create more disturbance and stress in your life. Hence learn to be in the present moment so that you are grounded.

6. Reframe your intrusive thoughts:

having intrusive thoughts may not be in your control but what you choose to do with them can be in your control. Approach these intrusive thoughts with curiosity and try to understand why you are having them and reframe them with little less disturbing thoughts.

7. Be in nature:

many studies have proven that being in nature has a positive effect on our thoughts and feelings. Therefore in case of intrusive thoughts, spending some time in nature can be of great help.

8. Mindfulness:

mindfulness techniques are used to help a person relax and calm the obsessive, overwhelming thoughts and feelings. Try learning some mindfulness techniques which you can use when intrusive thoughts begin to trouble you.

9. Cognitive behavioral therapy:

getting professional help is the best way to deal with the disturbance caused by intrusive thoughts. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is known for helping people replace their negative, destructive thoughts with positive, productive thoughts.

That’s All Folks!

I hope you found this blog helpful in overcoming unwanted intrusive thoughts. Intrusive thoughts can have a negative influence on your health and getting rid of them is the only way you can take care of your mental health.

Thanks for reading.

Take care and stay safe.

About The Author

Kirti Bhati

I am an English literature (major) and psychology (minor) graduate from St. Bede’s College, Shimla. Postgraduate in Clinical psychology from IIS University, Jaipur. She has published a Research paper on Music therapy in the military population and Workplace stress in a national seminar conducted by Fortis hospital (gurugram) and international seminar conducted by St. Bede’s College, Shimla, Respectively. Authored a dissertation work on ‘effect of social media addiction on the mental and physical well-being in adolescents’ Currently working at calm sage as a writer.

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