What are they and how to deal with them?

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) defines intrusive thoughts as thoughts that get “stuck” in the mind, causing distress to those experiencing them. A recent article on Harvard University’s website sheds light on their nature, highlighting their ability to repeatedly instill fear.

According to Harvard’s explanation, intrusive thoughts often present themselves in strange and disturbing ways. Its character lies in its ability to generate constant fear. Some of these thoughts are apparently meaningless, while others may be accompanied by explicit, violent or disturbing images, causing discomfort, anxiety or distress in those experiencing them.

Unwanted intrusive thoughts spread across a wide spectrum; Some are downright bizarre, seemingly unrelated to reality, while others can be graphic and explicit, containing content that is disturbing to watch. The variability in the nature of these thoughts creates discomfort and distress in those who experience them.

The ADA and Harvard agree that their continued presence may lead to an urgent need to isolate or separate personal identity from unwanted thoughts. The struggle to distance yourself emotionally from these intrusive thoughts is a common reality for those facing this emotional challenge.

The university’s article highlights the importance of understanding and addressing intrusive thoughts, as their prolonged presence can have a negative impact on the mental health of those who experience them. Awareness and resources to deal with these thoughts are essential to promoting emotional well-being.

Kerry-Ann Williams, a psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School, highlights the importance of following these key steps to confront intrusive thoughts:

– Identifying intrusive thinking:

Recognize an intrusive thought when it appears. Label it clearly to increase awareness of its nature.

– Acceptance instead of protest:

Accept the intrusive thought instead of fighting it. Accept its presence and allow it to exist without fighting it, thus promoting an attitude of acceptance.

– Avoid self-judgment:

Williams emphasizes the importance of not evaluating yourself. Having intrusive thoughts does not indicate a problem with the person or their mental health. Developing the understanding that these thoughts do not define self-worth is essential to emotional well-being.

Following these tips, Williams suggests that accepting intrusive thoughts and not fighting them can significantly contribute to a healthy approach to managing this emotional challenge.


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