Intrusive thoughts can lead you into a downward spiral of anxiety when you least expect it. They are usually unwanted, ranging from feeling like a total failure to wanting to harm yourself.
People who experience intrusive thoughts tend to feel guilty about them, so it is important to remember that you have no control over this.
They are usually a common symptom of known and manageable mental disorders such as anxiety and they can happen to everyone including to people who haven’t been diagnosed with any mental illness.
Dealing with intrusive thoughts is very challenging but not impossible. Some strategies can help you cope better. Here are some suggestions;
Find A Distraction.
Getting busy with an activity that is consuming at a mental level can help you take your mind away from intrusive thoughts. For example, you can play a game on your phone or you can get into a mental activity that is as simple as trying a new recipe in the kitchen or cleaning the dishes.
Talk To Yourself.
Sometimes intrusive thoughts emanate from negative feelings and you can only go through that by using affirming statements on yourself. This can mainly work when you take your time to write down a list of positive things about yourself in a journal when you are in a good place and then use them when you are going through a period of negative emotions.
In challenging moments we tend to forget the positive things that make us who we are. It could do you a lot of good to read them out loud when you are having intrusive thoughts so you can remember who you are.
Talk To Someone.
It is important to speak to your support system when you are having intrusive thoughts. This could be your partner, parents, or close friend.
Talking to someone who reaffirms you can help you find your centre faster than dealing with everything by yourself.
Focus On The Present.
When you are dealing with intrusive thoughts you need to look at your surroundings and redirect your thoughts to the present moment.
Intrusive thoughts often push you to overthink. Instead, being in the present can involve something as simple as focusing on your breathing and counting your breaths as you breathe in and out.
When people struggle with their mental health, they abuse drugs as a coping mechanism. Drugs and alcohol may give you a temporary high but they tend to make intrusive thoughts worse and that is why it is best to remain sober.
Seek Professional Help.
Intrusive thoughts are usually tied to our mental health and that is why you need to seek professional help and guidance when you realize they are a consistent problem for you.
If you can go to the hospital for a headache or a cold you can always go there too when you feel you are in a bad place mentally.
Write Down Your Thoughts.
Writing down your thoughts can help you track the patterns of your intrusive thoughts and what you usually think the most about when you are having them.
This could help you find a road map on what to fix and what you need to deal with to stop the intrusive thoughts completely.
Remember that intrusive thoughts happen differently to everyone and you have to develop personalized techniques on how to deal with yours.
It is also important to note that healing does not happen simultaneously. Dealing with intrusiveness is a journey that you have to take one day at a time.