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  • Writer's pictureJohn F Emilio

Navigating anxious intrusive thoughts- refocus reframe retrain

Intrusive thoughts are thoughts that come

out of nowhere and land hard. They are usually based in anxiety provoking themes. When they do come and grab our attention we have a choice. At that moment we can see that thought and notice I use the word SEE , then choose if we want to engage it or not. The only way we are able to see the thought before we automatically attach to it , is thru awareness and mindfulness.


The ability to SEE these thoughts is thru practicing awarensss and mindfulness. Without , we will automatically attach to them and believe they are true or imminent. That attachment can be distressing and anxiety provoking.


When we consciously think of something we are actively engaging our mind. Meaning we are involved in that process. We or I, as we are speaking about the one who has the thoughts is our awareness, our ability to watch and choose to engage or not engage. When I do not consciously choose and a thought is thrust upon us , it is not your thought (aka an intrusive thought.) It's a automatic thought on autopilot that our mind randomly throws at us as an ill advised attempt to protect or warn us. At this point if we choose to engage , analyze or figure out that thought we are confirming to our mind that it is important . That in turn will bring up more of these thoughts.


So when we have an intrusive thought what do we do. We notice that thought , understand consciously that we did not actively bring it up and just allow it to be there. I know you're saying easier said than done. If we did not want this thought then why should be invest energy into it. If your mind wants to stay attached , you can be aware that your mind is attached . At that point you have still separated and are aware your mind has attached. This still keeps you grounded and in the present moment. This is how awareness keeps you out of autopilot on a crash course to anxiety and distress. So next time Thought or emotion suddenly appears , consciously became aware of it , like watching traffic on a highway but from the side of the road and reinvest your energy in to what you were doing. Albeit it might be easy and at times very difficult but in the act of reframing and refocusing we are restraining also.


In this with you

John F Emilio



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