Are you affected by intrusive thoughts? I was, and I found a way to overcome them. So I’m sharing my method in the hopes of helping others.
[Note: This is an expanded version of an Instagram post that I published on February 17, 2019.]
Intrusive thoughts are highly disturbing and utterly improbable thoughts/images. Psychology Today says they’re “simply the most inappropriate thing your mind can imagine.” Well, hey! Here’s to creativity!
They are also NORMAL. Nothing is wrong with you. Of course, if you act on them or feel strongly compelled to do so, please do seek help.
My intrusive thoughts started in earnest after having our first child. I've learned that it's fairly common for them to start, or increase, after a traumatic event.
Out-of-nowhere visions of terrible things happening to this helpless tiny human that was completely dependent upon me. Outlandish scenarios with horrid results, almost always caused by my fictitious negligence.
I struggled with these thoughts for years. Occasionally, I would generally mention them to someone I trusted, and was met with "Oh, that's just silly! You worry too much. Of course that won't happen" or "Yep, that happened to me too when s/he was really little. Don't worry, it'll stop soon."
At one point I mentioned them to a therapist. She took me through a process of playing them out, multiple times. The intent being that 1) my brain would see how completely ridiculous they were, and 2) that talking about it would normalize the thoughts and they would stop.
While well-meaning, none of these things helped me.
So, I eventually stopped mentioning them to anyone. The thoughts did decrease in frequency, but they didn't stop. And it really bothered me.
Finally, after about five years, I mentioned it to a wonderful coach that I was working with. We were doing a lot of Soul connection work to support and inform some huge changes in my life. She led me in a process that immediately resonated as a powerful tool, and I started applying it on a regular basis.
With this tool, over time, I've trained my brain to avoid going down those slippery paths of intrusive thoughts. When our second child was born 18 months ago I was aware the thoughts were again increasing. But this method has helped me manage them . . .
Before your next intrusive thought, find a peaceful moment when you can relax and ground yourself. Don’t wait until a thought starts to take this first step. You must first prepare yourself, connect with your Soul, and prime your brain.
In this calm, loving and safe space, ask your beautiful Soul how to easily and quickly release these thoughts when they occur.
Do not explain the thoughts or give examples. Your Soul knows all about them. It has borne witness to your suffering and wants to help you overcome this. And, in this act of not allowing examples, you’re already training your brain to stop traveling the paths it’s created. Your brain loves paths and repetition. You’re now intentionally blocking an established path.
Your Soul wants very much to help you easily and quickly release these thoughts when they occur. It may tell you a word, or phrase, or show you an image of releasing. Nature is such a wonderful force for release. A natural process may be part of this.
Your Soul may show you something calming and peaceful, like roots of light sending the thought deep into the ground to be absorbed and recycled.
Or, it may be something powerful that destroys the thought. A torrential waterfall obliterating it. A snowplow demolishing it as a snowdrift.
These are just examples. The releasing thought or image is your's alone, provided by your loving Soul.
If the image feels good to you call on it as soon as you’re aware of an intrusive thought. Every time. Resist indulging your brain in the details of the thought. You must block that path.
You can always change the image by connecting with your Soul through the same process. But do try the original image awhile. Even if you feel indifferent about the image, use it a few times and see.
Mine seemed really odd to me at first, not at all what I would have created for myself. But my Soul is so wise. The oddity of the image made me focus on it quickly. And it worked! In fact, I still use the same image I received almost three years ago.
Have faith. This is a practice that will improve your life, and you'll feel empowered that you were able to it yourself --- by accessing your beautiful Soul, your natural wisdom.
It is possible to overcome intrusive thoughts! I’d love to hear if you found this helpful.
If you like this, let's do a 30-minute Breakthrough Session! It would be such a pleasure to talk with you, and support you in deepening your connection to your natural wisdom.