What Is Good Self Help for Intrusive Thoughts

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For people who suffer from OCD, intrusive thoughts are the triggers that cause the repetitive behaviors.

The intrusive thoughts are brought to the sufferers’ attention as a form of protection. The protection mechanism arises because the sufferer sees a threat (or threats) to something that they highly value.

An example can be seen as follows:

The Source of High ValueThe Trigger The Repetitive Behavior
The contents of your homeFear of losing your home contentsChecking that you have locked your door

The example above may not feature your own specific situation, but it demonstrates a very typical one. It also illustrates how all OCD intrusive thoughts are structured.

OCD Is Your Best Friend, But It’s An Annoying One

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Understanding the nature of intrusive thoughts and the subsequent OCD behaviors is the basis for helping yourself be free of this condition.

The three parts shown in the table above are essential to understanding so that you can deliver a practical solution to break the cycle.

Here is one more example so that you can see how consistent the pattern really is:

The Source of High ValueThe TriggerThe Repetitive Behavior
You, your family and your homeFear of personal or family death or loss of homeChecking that the stove is turned off

Once again we start with a fear which then triggers a worrying thought, and then the OCD behavior jumps into the rescue. I use the term: “jumps into the rescue” for a very good reason.

The thing to understand about OCD is that it’s trying to help you. It’s the best, best friend that you could ever have. But sadly it’s an annoying friend.

How many friends do you have that share the same values as you do about your life, your family’s life, and your home? I’ll bet that you have no friends at all that are so profoundly aware of your most important values in this world.

OCD is the all-seeing friend who cares very deeply about what you care very deeply about.

Since OCD Is Your Friend, Let’s Give It A Name

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How about Oscar?

OK, Oscar, it is.

So Oscar is your best friend in the whole world. Oscar really cares about your life and the lives of your family. Oscar also cares about your home and your belongings.

But here’s the thing; Oscar is stupid (sorry Oscar, but it’s true.)

Oscar cannot tell the difference between a real threat and an imaginary threat. So when Oscar senses anything that may harm the things that you value, then he jumps into the rescue (as I mentioned earlier.)

OK, But How Does All This Help Answer The Question: What Is Good Self Help for Intrusive Thoughts?

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The answer is that you have to treat Oscar like a best friend, just like he treats you as a best friend.

So far you have seen Oscar as a nuisance who irritates you by making you carry out repetitive behaviors. Oscar has made you angry, and Oscar has made you leave the house late and go to bed late.

But what if Oscar was actually a real living person? An actual friend in your life? A friend that you loved?

What changes in your behavior might make Oscar less protective?

Well, for a start, if Oscar was a real human being, then you could discuss the situation with him. You could wait for a quiet moment such as when you go to bed. Then, as you lay there, you could see Oscar in your mind, and you could thank him for all the times that he has tried to protect you.

You might point out to him that he is your best friend (and mean it,) and go on to explain that you really love that he takes care of you.

He never asks for anything back, so he is a really selfless and loving person.

In other words… stop fighting with Oscar.

Fighting with anything in the mind is met with trouble. But wholeheartedly accepting anything in the mind is met with a sense of calm.

Continue to embrace Oscar as the friend that he really is.

But What About Disturbing Intrusive Thoughts?

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For readers not aware of what this question is referring to, then let me explain.

Some people who have OCD also have alarming thoughts. The thoughts are typically horrifying flash-in-the-mind thoughts such as killing someone or jumping off a tall building.

But here’s the thing; have you ever actually killed anyone after having these thoughts? Or have you ever jumped from that tall building? (I am guessing not if you are reading this page.)

So what can we conclude about these thoughts?

We can conclude that they are only thoughts!

When you genuinely accept anything in this world, the worry leaves you.

Next time you have a disturbing thought, try this process and you’ll see what I mean:

  1. Allow the thought to come in.
  2. Be aware of it but do not react.
  3. Just allow the thought to exist but show it no concern.
  4. Don’t have any internal voice criticizing the thought or judging the thought.
  5. Don’t judge yourself for having the thought.
  6. Breath calmly and allow the thought to be there, without you reacting to it.

The thought that just jumped into your mind is no different to any other ideas that you have. You perhaps just thought about grabbing a knife and stabbing your neighbor, but you may equally have had a thought about what you might eat tomorrow.

If you just thought about your meal tomorrow, then that doesn’t mean that you’ll start cooking it now does it?

Equally, if you think about stabbing someone, then it doesn’t mean that you’ll stab someone.

Thoughts are just thoughts.

The only difference is that an evil thought is more disturbing to you than a: ‘thinking about food’ thought. But neither thought leads to action.

So far in your life, you’ve had a 100% success rate in not stabbing anyone and not jumping from a tall building. That success rate is down to the fact that such thoughts are utterly meaningless.

Ash is not a medically trained person and all ideas expressed are based solely on his own life experiences.

The Following Infographic Outlines Types of OCD

Types of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)

From Visually.

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