Guy de Maupassant once said, “A sick thought can devour the flesh of the body more than fever or consumption.” Everyone has negative thoughts at some point, the problem is when they become obsessions. But how can you stop intrusive thoughts?
What happens when we have recurring, negative thoughts for hours or even days at a time? They can become dangerous obsessions and even affect your health. But there is good news. All you have to do is use specific strategies to change your mental habits and stop intrusive thoughts.
Imagine waking up with a terrifying thought or belief in your head before you even get out of bed. As you go through the day, this nervous idea comes to mind again and again. That’s an intrusive thought.
What are intrusive thoughts?
Everyone has negative thoughts from time to time that run through their minds. They only become a problem if you can’t let them go and instead let them circle around in your head and turn into deep-seated ideas. At this point, your thoughts can become bothersome or even harmful.
These thoughts clearly don’t make anyone happy. Otherwise we would welcome them with open arms. The inconvenient truth is that these thoughts are always about phobias, fears, worries, traumas, or deep vulnerabilities. And they don’t let us focus on anything else.
In addition to the emotional pain they cause initially, intrusive thoughts can be exhausting. Repeated, negative thoughts tire both the person who is suffering and the person they confide in. In addition, intrusive thoughts distort reality to the point of imagining shocking situations that may have nothing to do with reality.
These distortions of reality can become very damaging to your emotional health, increase your anxiety and negatively affect your mood. The result is negative thoughts about yourself and your life, such as:
- I’m worthless.
- It’s hopeless.
- I hate myself.
- It’s going to be a disaster.
- I am useless.
- I am a failure.
And the worst part is that you believe them. However, these thoughts are caused by fear. So if you want to stop intrusive thoughts, check out some of the interesting options below.
6 Ways to Help Stop Intrusive Thoughts
Effective measures are needed to stop repeating negative thoughts once and for all. Here are a few simple yet effective suggestions:
1. Don’t try to stop them
Not only does it not work, but multiple scientific studies have found that it can make matters worse by forcing your brain to remember them.
2. Accept and rationalize
Accepting that fear will mislead you and causing these kinds of thoughts will help you relax and think about them less often.
3. Write it down
Writing down your intrusive thoughts is not only a great way to relax but also an outlet. It also makes your brain interpret them as they are recorded. This helps stop your brain from constantly bringing them up. If you read them later, you can see how irrational they really are.
4. Movement and Meditation
Exercise decreases cortisol and adrenaline levels and increases dopamine, endomorphins and serotonin. In short, this exchanges fear, stress and sadness for peace, happiness and self-esteem. This will help you put those intrusive thoughts aside for a while. On the other hand , meditation is a great way to teach yourself to control your thoughts and bring your attention back to the present. And it is also very relaxing.
5. Let go of the thought
When intrusive thoughts arise, don’t obsess over them, nor try to stop them. Just accept that they are there. Try to relax, and as you do so, your mind will find something else to focus on and the thought will disappear on its own.
6. Take Vitamin B
Vitamin B deficiencies can directly disrupt the effective functioning of the nervous system. Improve your intake by eating vegetables, fruits, fish, meat and dairy products.
As you can imagine, there are many things that can help you stop intrusive thoughts. Yet they all have one thing in common: they only work if you are persistent.