The first and most important thing to know about intrusive thoughts is that they can be overcome. Intrusive thoughts are not permanent, inherent, or uncontrollable. Thousands of people each day are overcoming intrusive thoughts, taking control of their minds and thought processes. People who have dealt with intrusive thoughts for dozens of years are beginning to gain greater control, peace, and calm in their minds and in their lives. Intrusive thoughts can be overcome. Yes, even by you.
You must deal with intrusive thoughts the same way you would deal with an intrusive person. Tell them kindly to leave, don’t feel obligated to answer their calls, don’t feel that you owe them anything. If you’re someone who has trouble facing up to unwanted people in your daily life maybe these thought exercises will help you there as well.
If you have thoughts about hurting yourself, someone, else, breaking something or acting out in any generally sort of violent or unsavory way, the reason these thoughts bother you is because you don’t want to act on them. Don’t allow these thoughts then to galvanize you into a whole flurry of anxiety. You have already identified that the thought is not something you want. Part of the problem of intrusive thoughts is we begin to beat ourselves up by saying, "why would I think that? That is so horrible. I must be horrible to have thought that". Or, "something horrible will happen because I have thought that."
This line of thinking is very counterproductive and feeds the intrusive thoughts.
Instead, you can simply label or recognize the thought as intrusive and nothing more. This practice differentiates and dislocates the thought from your "Self". Your ideas about yourself. Your True Self is unconditional love, kindness, creativity, intelligence, wisdom, Truth and power. Any thought which doesn't align with these truths, then, is a falsity, You don’t need to ask why, what, who, when about the intrusive thoughts. Just begin to practice knowing that they are not true. And what do you normally do about something you know is a blatant lie? You wouldn't give it the time of day, right? All that you need to know is it is intrusive, unwanted, untrue, and recognize it as such.
Rather than trying to repress the thoughts you can notice and label them when they arise and then affirm a more welcoming thought. Since intrusive thoughts are ones we don’t want to have and cause us anxiety one way to defeat them is to begin to think thoughts which correspond to things we would want to have or have happen.
You can't get rid of intrusive thoughts by ignoring or resisting them. The saying goes, "whatever you resist persists." Instead this method involves transmuting or transforming the thoughts themselves using an understanding of the universal law of polarity. The law of polarity posits that everything is on a continuum and has an opposite, therefore, we can transmute and transform undesirable thoughts by concentrating on the opposite pole. It is the law of mental vibrations. Thoughts can neither be created or destroyed, they can only be transformed from one state to another.
Read more about the law of polarity here and here.
If you are someone who believes that thoughts don’t mean anything you can still recognize that certain thoughts cause us to experience certain feelings of anger, sadness, fear, happiness, etc. So perhaps our thoughts don’ have any effect in our “real lives” but they do have a huge impact on our internal experience which is just as important. So when you find that you have experienced an upsetting intrusive thought, label it as such and then find a thought that affirms the positive polarity of that thought.
Play a Game
If, for example, you are thinking something bad might happen to your dog, you could instead recall a funny memory of your pet, how happy you were when you first met him, for example. Since you have intrusively experienced an upsetting thought about your pet you can re-polarize your mind by triggering yourself to think of a positive memory of your pet which brings you happiness, peace, or joy. Think of this as a game which you will play with yourself. We’ll call it The Game of Opposites. When you experience an upsetting thought it is then “your turn” to find a polarizing positive thought and as many polarizing positive thoughts as you can. Sort of like affirmations. So with the pet example your thinking might look like this:
*intrusive thought about pet* --> You notice and label the thought as intrusive -->'your turn' to introduce a positive polarizing thought' -funny memory about pet -> cutest pet moment -> how much you love your pet etc.
Do as many as you feel you need to think of to change your inner feeling from the one caused by the discomfort of the intrusive thought to a new more desirable feeling of joy, happiness, etc.
Eventually you will get better and better at this game/practice the same way someone may improve their skills in playing the game of chess. Thoughts are a mind game. Really everything is. The universe is Mental, All is Mind. Sometimes it is easier to deal with difficulties when we can make them less serious and turn them into more of a challenging game than a debilitating condition. Like I said before, people are overcoming intrusive thoughts everyday and you can to. No one else is more deserving or less afflicted than you which has overcome these thoughts. So decide today, that you will begin to play to win the autonomy of your mind.
In my experience of intrusive thoughts meditation has been the single most important tool which has helped me to overcome unwanted thoughts. Meditation has brought me greater peace, greater clarity, and an overall stronger mental state. Similar to playing the game, meditating helps us to gain strength clarity, control in our minds which in term brings us greater peace and happiness. If you aren’t sure how to begin meditating check out our post about it here.
Intrusive thoughts are a large part of many people's daily lives, but we do believe anything can be overcome. If you have found your way to this article we believe you are on your way to achieving much healing, clarity, and mind power. We hope this article is helpful.
What methods and practices have helped you to overcome intrusive thoughts? Let us know in the comments.
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