Should we worry about intrusive thoughts?
Ever had thoughts which make you wonder if they were normal? Often intrusive thoughts include feelings of fear, anger, despair and our own obsessions. They happen to all of us at some time or another and they can take many forms.
Perhaps you have suddenly had a thought of kicking a dog, or pushing someone down a flight of stairs. While doing or wanting to do these things is not normal, having intrusive thoughts like these ARE. Sometimes thoughts like these come to us precisely because we DO NOT want to act in these ways.
They are simply the most inappropriate thing your mind can imagine.
You have probably heard of the experiment when people were allowed to think of anything but a white bear. And of course, all they could think of was a white bear.
The very act of monitoring our thought for the absence of a thought can make it occur more frequently. When someone becomes very distressed by their intrusive thoughts, they can go to great lengths to get rid of them and prevent them from re-occurring. Sometimes this can take the form of obsessive-compulsive disorder. When people have this disorder they often aim to avoid situations and this can get in the way of day-to-day living. If this is the case, then it is wise to seek professional help.
For the majority of us who have these less intrusive thoughts - relax. They are normal. Next time you have an intrusive thought remember that thoughts are not facts. Thoughts do not necessarily lead to action.
Don't waste your time trying to push the thought out of your mind. Just acknowledge it and let it pop in and let it pop out.
It can be helpful to share your thought with a friend. By sharing our experiences we take another step forward to working out what is 'normal' for us.