Overcoming Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts: a “prn” checklist, read as required

  • There is nothing wrong with you, just the way you are dealing with your thoughts
  • Just knowing accurate information about unwanted intrusive thoughts will make them less distressing
  • Your commentary in the form of the back and forth arguments between “Worried Voice” & “False Comfort” can be the most distressing aspect of your unwanted intrusive thought
  • Observing and letting go of your commentary will go a long way toward gaining some relief from your intrusive thoughts
  • Thoughts stick because of the energy you expend to fight them
  • Unwanted intrusive thoughts get stuck because you inadvertently fuel them by trying to push them away
  • Despite how they may feel, impulses and intrusive thoughts couldn’t be more different

WISE MIND: Nothing in life is risk-free – really, nothing. You can live with it or drive yourself nuts around it, it really is up to you.

  • Contrary to common sense, reducing your effort to avoid intrusive thoughts will often lead to less distress
  • Toxic worry is not defined by the worry topic, but by how the worry thoughts behave.
  • Most of your distress is caused not by what you think or feel, but by how you feel about and react to what you think and feel
  • Busting myths with facts about thoughts will make intrusive thoughts less sticky

WISE MIND: Everyone’s mind goes everywhere. It could be interesting to watch. I have no need to stop any of it. Nor do you. Thoughts are just thoughts and they just happen

  • Thoughts have nothing to do with character. Only chosen actions do
  • Thoughts do not change probabilities in the real world
  • Your attention may be hijacked by junk
  • Thoughts that repeat are stuck, not important
  • Your wise mind knows that feeling anxious is not the same as being in danger
  • Neither thoughts nor feelings are facts
  • Less is more when coping with unwanted intrusive thoughts
  • Entanglement is a major factor in keeping intrusive thoughts going
  • Unwanted intrusive thoughts feel like they are not you
  • Certainty is a feeling, not a fact
  • Accept and allow is more of an attitude than a technique
  • The feeling of urgency that comes with an unwanted intrusive thought is a false message from your brain
  • Exposure is the active therapeutic ingredient for overcoming anxiety
  • Anxiety tries to convince you that intrusive thoughts have special meaning. Part of beating anxious thinking is refusing to be taken in by this message
  • Humour goes a long way to making practice more manageable

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