Alex's Answer

How do I stop having horrible, intrusive thoughts?

Your Question

How to stop horrible intrusive thoughts? My thoughts are so bad and I randomly get them and always feel so distributed. 

Answer

Hi There,  

Welcome to Ask Alex, we are so sorry to hear that you are struggling with intrusive thoughts, it sounds like these thoughts are bothering you a lot and they seem to come from nowhere.   

For most people intrusive thoughts occur when we are stressed or worried and can be aggressive, sexual, memories or thoughts of a time you made a mistake or of something that is worrying you. It might help you to think about what is going on in your life – what worries you and what causes you stress and/or anxiety? Who do you have in your life; can you think of a trusted adult that you could talk to about what is happening for you? Talking about your stresses, worries and anxiety can help reduce intrusive thoughts.  

You have been very brave reaching out to Ask Alex and it is understandable that you are feeling disturbed by these intrusive thoughts however, they are a common way that are brain deals with, or tells us, that it is stressed or anxious. We understand that it is hard to get rid of all stresses and worries in life so with this in mind, what do you think it would be like for you to try and deal with the intrusive thoughts as they pop into your head? There are a number of ways to do this, but first it can be helpful to recognise that a thought has no power or significance in itself and when any thought is disturbing or violent it doesn’t mean that you are a bad person.  

Mindfulness meditation can help with intrusive thoughts as it encourages you to calmly observe your thoughts, without judging or becoming emotionally tangled up in them. Another way to help cope with intrusive thoughts is by externalising the thought. When we keep any thought to ourselves, they can seem bigger and more powerful than they are. How would you feel about writing the thought down or writing about how you feel about the thought or even talking to someone about it? This is what externalising the thought is. Grounding yourself in the present can also help. Do you find yourself thinking about the past a lot or worrying about the future? Focusing on the present moment, bringing your thoughts to what is happening for you and where you are in the present moment is a powerful way to keep your mind from stressing or worrying.  

These are just a few tips to help you deal with intrusive thoughts and you might find this previous Ask Alex answer to a similar question helpful too: https://www.childline.ie/what-does-it-mean-if-i-get-the-urge-to-gouge-my-eyes-out-or-jump-out-the-window/ as well as this article on the Childline website: https://www.childline.ie/what-are-intrusive-thoughts/.  

Remember Childline is always here to chat and listen so if you would like to discuss your intrusive thoughts some more, you can contact Childline for free on 1800 66 66 66 or chat online at www.childline.ie 

Take care, 

Alex 

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