Intrusive thoughts can cause high amounts of distress, especially if individuals struggle with mental illness of any sort. Intrusive thoughts can feel all-consuming and seem like they are true. Learning to see intrusive thoughts for what they are and release them is possible and an important part of experiencing relief from musings for peace of mind.
Intrusive thoughts are unwanted, repetitive thoughts that are often triggered by stress and anxiety.
When the body is stressed, the mind is more vulnerable, making individuals more susceptible to experiencing thoughts that feel out of their control. Intrusive thoughts can be a sign of not only stress, but also anxiety disorders, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and other mental illnesses.
Not only are they typically caused by stress, but they can also cause individuals large amounts of distress as they often differ from what a person’s true self believes to be true. This can cause cognitive dissonance in one’s sense of self.
Thoughts Are Thoughts
When experiencing uncomfortable thoughts and feeling distressing emotions, it can be helpful to remember that thoughts are just thoughts and feelings are just feelings, though this may feel easier said than done. It takes practice to remember this and for it to feel more real.
While each thought and emotion individuals have are valid, that does not make them true. Believing each thought and feeling an individual has is true just because it is thought or felt can trap them in all-or-nothing thinking, which is a cognitive distortion.
Letting Thoughts Be There
Allowing the thoughts an individual has to simply be in their mind, rather than trying to make them go away, is exactly what lets them take up less space in their mind.
There is nothing wrong with the thought itself, as intrusive thoughts are not the truth. It is the meaning a person attaches to their thoughts that makes them feel like they have power over them. Remembering that thoughts are not facts—positive, negative, or neutral—can help to externalize the thought from who a person is and gives them their power back.
Coming Back to The Present Moment
After allowing thoughts to be there without trying to force them to vanish, it can be easier to anchor back into the present moment through mindfulness.
Mindfulness is the act of paying attention with purpose and allowing whatever experience an individual is having to be okay. Practices such as mindfulness and acceptance can lead to decreased stress, depression, and anxiety. This can also lower the volume and frequency of intrusive thoughts.
Intrusive thoughts can feel debilitating and cause high amounts of stress. Practicing releasing them from the truth of who a person is through remembering thoughts are just thoughts, allowing thoughts to be there, and coming back to the present moment is how to let them go.
Releasing intrusive thoughts may feel impossible, especially if you experience them often. At Avalon Malibu, we are here to support you in healing from mental illnesses and stress that cause intrusive thoughts. We also recognize that doing so can feel uncomfortable and hard. We guide you to release intrusive thoughts through learning thoughts are just thoughts, externalizing thoughts from who you are, and cultivating mindfulness and presence in your life. If you are ready to begin your journey, call Avalon Malibu today at (844) 857-5992 to learn about our recovery programs.