Overcoming Intrusive Thoughts

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Many people have occasional, strange thoughts about violent or unhappy things.  They are only odd thoughts that flit through our brains.  People don't usually talk about these thoughts, but they are very common and don't mean much of anything.  They don't hurt anyone – except ourselves when we get worried about them.

If you are troubled by intrusive thoughts, I recommend reading a chapter in an excellent book by Foa and Wilson called “Stop Obsessing!”  Chapter 5, called “Letting Go of Worries and Obsessions” contains wonderful advice on mastering intrusive thoughts.

Don’t be deterred by the fact that the book is primarily designed for people recovering from obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Here's a quote from Chapter 5, page 79:

"When you begin to worry, you have two options.  The first is to fight and resist the obsessions.  This option, as you know, increases your distress and intensifies the obsessions, and until now, you have been responding in this way.  We encourage you to try a different option:  Accept the anxious thought.  So even though your ultimate goal is to stop obsessing, the way to best reach that goal is to develop this attitude of acceptance: It's OK that I just had that thought, and it's OK if it returns...."  

The authors go on to teach some dynamite techniques for gaining mastery over these obsessive thoughts.  If this sounds interesting, it's well worth the $12 investment!

 


Index to "Short Essays on Healing"

 


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