How to deal with troubling thoughts | Psyche Guides - 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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Disturbing Thoughts

Disturbing Thoughts

We all have thoughts going on in our heads all the time, stories, reimagining of the past, beliefs and ideas. Many of these thoughts are not in our direct control and can show up in our consciousness in an intrusive manner, without any effort or intention from our side.

These unwanted intrusive thoughts, which are without our consent, can be beneficial, mundane, disposable, or even disturbing and scary.

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Suppressing Our Thoughts: The Pink Elephant

Many studies show that thought suppression leads to the mind paying extra and frequent attention to the particular thought that is being suppressed, causing it to ‘rebound’ and become the dominant thought.

Example: Telling the brain to not think of a pink elephant conjures up the image of a pink elephant automatically for most people.

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Disturbing Thoughts: The Limits Of Therapy

Many psychotherapeutic approaches like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) only touch the surface of the problem, not the origin of the disturbing thought.

Though simply having those unwanted intrusive thoughts does not automatically mean that those will be acted upon, as most people are simply terrified of having such thoughts.

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Practical Steps To Handle Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts

  1. Acknowledge and label these thoughts as bad or negative, creating a distance between you and the thoughts.
  2. Write them down, to have it in front of you on a piece of paper, as you reflect on it and stop the worrying in the process.
  3. Recognize that the thoughts are real and are an unpleasant problem.
  4. Recognize and validate your own emotional response to the thoughts.
  5. Do not brood over them, and try to redirect your attention to something else, which is pleasant.

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Handle Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts: Do’s And Don’ts

  1. Practice mindfulness meditation, focusing your attention to your breath or a mantra.
  2. Note the thought and ‘park’ it, reminding yourself to tackle it later.
  3. Do not distract yourself in a way that makes your mind rebound towards the unwanted thought you are trying to avoid.
  4. Do not take comfort or reassurance in others, as it can be a cause of false beliefs and incorrect notions.
  5. Do not worry, ruminate or delve into negative self-talk.

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