9 Ways to Cope With Intrusive Thoughts - Deepstash
How to Cope With Intrusive Thoughts

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How to overcome unwanted thoughts

How to manage intrusive thoughts

How to change your attitude towards intrusive thoughts

How to Cope With Intrusive Thoughts

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Mindfulness meditation

Mindfulness meditation

  • One of the core principles of mindfulness is learning how to calmly observe your thoughts, without judging or becoming emotionally tangled up in them.
  • This can make it a great way to cope with intrusive thoughts because you’re not denying that the thoughts are present — just changing your relationship with them.
  • You don’t need any special equipment to start meditating, just a few spare moments, and somewhere quiet to practice, if possible.
  • There are also lots of meditation apps available, with courses specifically geared toward beginners and people living with intrusive thoughts, that may help you.


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Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

  • CBT is a type of psychotherapy that can be effective for all kinds of thought disorders.
  • It can be especially helpful for intrusive thoughts that become obsessive because it helps to create distance between a person and their thoughts.
  • CBT is based on the idea that our thought patterns can be unlearned or changed. A CBT therapist can work with you to identify your intrusive thoughts, process them, and reframe them so that they aren’t as powerful.


830 reads

Remember, ‘This too shall pass’

  • This is a simple but powerful mantra that may help you to regain perspective.
  • When an intrusive thought occupies your brain, it can sometimes feel like it will never go away. But thoughts are always temporary, and there is no such thing as a permanent state of mind.
  • Identifying a mantra like “This too shall pass,” or “My thoughts are temporary” could be helpful in reducing their power.


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Visualization techniques

Visualizing your thoughts can allow you to feel more in control of them.

For example, you could picture your mind as a blue sky, and your thoughts as passing clouds. Some of the clouds are light, and some dark, but none of them are permanent.

This is a mindfulness technique known as thought clouds, but it can be used outside of meditation practice.


824 reads

Spend time with a pet

Animals can be incredibly calming to an anxious mind. They have no understanding of our complex, troubled thoughts, so they can provide distraction and uncomplicated emotional support.

In addition, animal-assisted therapy for trauma is becoming more common.


793 reads

Externalize the thought

Our brains can be incredibly good at telling us stories that feel like reality. So, an intrusive thought can take on outsized power when it only exists in your mind.

Consider externalizing the thought, by journaling or even just speaking it out loud, and see whether the impact of it changes.


783 reads

Ground yourself in the present

Intrusive thoughts can often lead you to focus on the negative and create stories that aren’t based on reality. Without even realizing it, you may be spending a lot of your time living in the past, or obsessing about the future.

Focusing on the present moment can be a powerful way to manage this.

Grounding techniques that can help you center your focus may include:

  • deep breathing
  • active meditation
  • body scan meditation.


698 reads

Take a walk in nature

According to the American Psychological Association, there’s a lot of evidence that spending time in nature can boost mental health and sharpen cognitive abilities.

Taking a walk or jog in a green space can help you to break a cycle of rumination, by engaging your body and your senses in a way that gets your mind off your thoughts.


675 reads

Approach the thought with curiosity

Not all of these tips will be practical in every situation. But one thing you can always try to do is reframe the intrusive thought you’re having.

Consider observing your thoughts without judgment, and approaching them with curiosity by turning your attention to how your body responds to certain thoughts that may arise.

Distressing thoughts could be your brain’s way of processing something.


711 reads



Engineer for chemical


Becoming aware of your intrusive thought patterns is the first step toward breaking the cycle.


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