Bizarre reason behind why we have intrusive thoughts will make you feel less ashamed
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Ask any of your pals, and I can guarantee they say they've had intrusive thoughts. From pushing a train's emergency stop button when there isn't an emergency, to casually rear-ending the driver in front of you for no reason - we've all had them.
But fear not, friends - you're not losing the plot. It turns out these type of random and outrageous thoughts are actually some-what normal.
Depending on the nature of some of your thoughts, they can be undeniably alarming and cause you to question if its your fault you're having them, but it's not.
It's actually a lot more ordinary than you think - your brain is thinking such thoughts because you don't want to act that way and, for some reason, it just happens to think up the most inappropriate thing that it can imagine.
Strange, I know.
As to what causes them, one of the main reasons is anxiety or stress, according to Harvard Health.
Some biological factors may also play a part in them, for example women who have just given birth may have more intrusive thoughts than usual because of the hormonal changes they're going through.
While you may think the best thing to do it try push down your intrusive thoughts, this might make the stick around for longer and happen more frequently.
Hannah Reese, Clinical and Research Fellow in Psychology at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School, wrote for Psychology Today: "The very act of monitoring your thoughts for the absence of a thought can make it occur more frequently.
"When someone becomes very distressed by their intrusive thoughts, goes to great lengths to get rid of them, and prevent them from occurring, this can become a form of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
"People with this 'bad thoughts' form of OCD often avoid things that could trigger these thoughts or being in situations where they might be at risk for acting on a thought."
So what should we do then about these thoughts about kicking our next door neighbour's adorable Cavapoo then? Harvard Health has you covered, and the medical team advises that, firstly, you identify the thought.
Dr. Kerry-Ann Williams, a lecturer in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, says to simply think to yourself: "That’s just an intrusive thought; it’s not how I think, it’s not what I believe, and it’s not what I want to do."
Secondly you're urged not to fight the thought and, lastly, you shouldn't judge yourself for it.
However, if you're finding that your intrusive thoughts are impacting your daily life, Harvard Health advises to see a mental health professional for further advice.