Today is a good day, you say to yourself after waking up. You stretch, take your vitamins, open the curtains, and prepare for this good day you’ve already declared. Out of nowhere, an intrusive thought shows up and whispers, “remember when your heart was broken?”, “Do you want to go over the moment where you had to leave the person you liked?” “Would you like to replay all of your breakups?” Now, at this moment you have two choices. You can indulge your thoughts or you can replace your thoughts.
When you indulge your thoughts, you say to your brain it’s perfectly fine to intrude upon my day and make me feel bad. You tell your brain that intruding on your good day is the norm. And as the brain does, it will map itself and decides that this will be the route it will go from now on.
Whenever you think good thoughts, feel good about yourself or feel a sense of peace, boom! an intrusive thought shows up because this is the route your brain has been instructed to take. Your brain starts to work on autopilot, without you knowing it, and it has consistently made you feel bad by revisiting past wounds. Moreover, you are in a prison and your thoughts are what’s keeping you sad, isolated, and in pain.
These intrusive thoughts are what you pay your therapist to point out and reframe. They are your brain working on autopilot in a negative way, which means, your brain can do the same action and work on autopilot but in a positive way! The best thing about the brain is that it is malleable and whatever way you use it, can be used the same way but for positivity, love, and growth. So, if you can love you can hate it because it is the same energy used in different ways.
To address these intrusive thoughts. You have to do the following:
- Notice them. One way you notice them is by asking yourself does my reality match my emotional state? If the answer is no, your mind may be a victim of your intrusive thoughts.
- Challenge them. Byron Katie has a formula called the work. the questions are as follows:
“Question 1: Is it true?
Question 2: Can you absolutely know it’s true?
Question 3: How do you react — what happens — when you believe that thought? Q.
Question 4: Who would you be without the thought?”
The question of “who would you be without that thought?” helps you imagine another way of being where those thoughts that cage you or weigh heavy on you are addressed or don’t exist. It shows the possibility and inspires hope.
3. Talk to them. A simple no that is a lie, silences the thoughts. Remember, with repetition, your brain will believe whatever you tell it.
4. Replace them. “You will always be alone” “you are the problem” “you aren’t good enough” are thoughts that you chose to believe. What if you believed anything else? Something more uplifting? I am sure that would impact your behavior completely.
If you are alive, you will have intrusive thoughts because your brain wants attention. In those moments, don’t feed it more negativity so that it can be stronger and more durable with negative thoughts. Limit your brain’s diet, supplement your brain’s diet with positive thoughts, call it a liar, do whatever you need to do to make sure it isn’t constantly pulling you back into pain.