Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Intrusive/Obsessive Thoughts

Our thoughts shape our moods.We generally try to channelize them in the right avenues but sometimes they run amok and invade our minds again and again,defying all efforts to control them.These are known as intrusive or obsessive thoughts.

Intrusive thoughts are mental symptoms of an Anxiety Disorder.They come in the form of worries,fears,doubts or premonitions.Some common examples are-'Did I switch off the stove?','I hope I don't meet with an accident, 'I hope 'A' is not up to some hanky-panky' etc etc.

Some of them like the ones listed above, are quite inconsequential and therefore less intimidating.But sexual,incestuous,blasphemous or violent thoughts are very distressing because they are uncharacteristic and immoral in nature.They generate a lot of shame,guilt and fear. A person going through this turmoil feels as if he is losing control over himself.It makes him very jittery.

Suppose every time you go for a walk pop comes a thought that you might fall down.You take care and that is that.But if you have a weird thought of having sex with a stranger you begin to fear your own self.You may even stop going out,be fearful of meeting persons of the opposite sex,or remind yourself to not look below their faces if at all you meet them.

Naturally all this multiplies your anxiety manifold.Remember,anxiety was what started the thoughts in the first place.Now the thoughts are augmenting your anxiety.Sadly,anxiety is self sustaining.So what is the way out?

It is best to have a medical checkup in the first place as certain diseases or even the side effects of certain medicines can cause anxiety or depression.

One's style of functioning too requires scrutiny.Those who are overly anxious about things,live apprehensively,fret too much about the future, are more anxious than others.

In order to get rid of these thoughts it is essential to understand how they get fixated.As long as an obsessive thought is trivial you don't pay much heed,but when it signifies moral degradation you sit up and take notice.You analyze that thought,search for it's root and explore your own behavior for any sort of inkling.In this way you entrench it well and proper.Proceeding further,if you alter your behavior to somehow avert that thought,then it becomes a notable part of your routine.The brain learns through repetition-is it any wonder then that this kind of thought persecutes you more than any other?

Eradicating obsessive thoughts is difficult but not impossible.Target your anxiety which is the root cause of these thoughts.Identify the factors which are making you anxious, and try to remove them.

Getting rid of intrusive thoughts May take time but even as you live with them you can do a few things to ease your mind.

Just remember that these thoughts are mere symptoms of anxiety and not a reflection of your character or personality.You are not a pervert or a weakling.The fact that these thoughts come without your bidding and clash with your principles does not mean that you are going crazy or have lost control over your mind.

Don't attach any importance to them,just flick them away like an irritating fly.Don't alter your behavior on account of them.

Desist from analysing them or ferreting for their cause.

If you think you are the vilest person on earth because no one else has such
thoughts,you are wrong.People don't discuss such thoughts with anyone else,just as you don't.Moreover the very fact that you abhor these thoughts signifies that you are in no way responsible for them.It is anxiety which causes these thoughts.It alters your brain chemistry in such a way that you cannot focus on positive thoughts.Don't shame yourself.

The mind can only hold one thought at a time.If you want to abolish an unwanted thought substitute it with a positive one.Choose a tagline which clicks with you.There are many ways of distracting your mind from unwanted thoughts.You can choose the ones you like from this post.Eventually the menace will lose its force.Anxiety is entirely treatable.  

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  1. Exceedingly useful post. To be absorbed and followed in day-to-day life. Hearty thanks Indu Ji for sharing it.

  2. Acceptance, awareness and then action. Great piece on how to ward off obsessive thoughts.

  3. Obsessive thoughts especially things like Have I left the stove on I guess happens to most of us. But good pointers on how to recognize what is more dangerous and to take care of them.

  4. Wish controlling thoughts was easy.
    Would have been great if we can delete some thoughts :)

  5. Yes Anita,it can be very difficult sometimes.


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