How to use Mindfulness for Intrusive Thoughts & Unwanted Thoughts

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In this episode, we are going to continue our series on Meditation and Mindfulness, and today we are going to focus on how to use Mindfulness for intrusive thoughts and unwanted thoughts.


Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to the present moment in a nonjudgmental way. It involves our ability to consciously decide to embrace and accept what is currently happening, with our thoughts, our feelings, our bodily sensations, or our surrounding environment.

If you’re someone who wrestles with unwanted and intrusive thoughts it is tempting to try mindfulness to “fix” your thoughts. But in this episode, I want to help you understand mindfulness from a much higher perspective.

Remember that practicing mindfulness is in many ways about self-discovery and I hope that this new perspective, can open up more opportunities for finding a higher level of inner peace.




All right. Hey guys, welcome to this episode where we're going to talk about how to use mindfulness for dealing with intrusive thoughts or unwanted thoughts. And this is going to be one kind of great big paradox here. And so, but before we dive into this episode, um, please, um, we really, really appreciate your support by liking and subscribing and even leaving a little comment down below of, you know, future videos or ideas that you might like us to create. Um, and we really would appreciate your support. Um, so with that said on this episode, I want to talk about this idea of mindfulness and how oftentimes what we try to do is we try to take it and jam it into solve a problem, like when this case with intrusive thoughts. Now, for most of us, when we first start experiencing intrusive thoughts, and again, this can be any variation of intrusive thought, right?


And so I just, I kind of want to lump them into that category here. We can talk about very specific thoughts in a future episodes. And if that's something that you'd like, just let us know. Um, but when, when you talk about intrusive thoughts, you usually you're talking about like the following category trauma intrusive, harmful thoughts, and they could be towards other people or, you know, yourself, it could be intrusive, um, sexual thoughts, thoughts about your sexuality, um, whether, you know, um, pedophilia, things like that. Um, and it could also be, um, intrusive thoughts about religion or your spiritual beliefs or existential ideas. It can also just be interested thoughts about, about anything right. About contamination. I mean, th th they can go so many ways, right? So what we do when, when we first start experiencing them, they usually produce a lot of anxiety, right?


Or uncomfortable feelings, guilt, doubt, um, you know, something that, that causes an emotional reaction within us. And then that drives our behavior, which then builds this loop. And in the more and more the loop, um, builds, the more you get into that lens, right. That, you know, and you start seeing the world through that lens of OCD and anxiety, and then everything just gets distorted. Right. And so when we talk about using mindfulness, a lot of us will hear about this term mindfulness, and we'll be like, okay, what I need to do is I need to use mindfulness to not have intrusive thoughts. Right. And we find out it doesn't work like that right. Really quickly. And then many of us get frustrated and we just give up on this idea, right? Oh, well, this didn't, I tried it, man. It didn't work for me.


Right. Um, and, and yes, it didn't work in the sense of it didn't produce the exact result that you thought it should have. That doesn't mean that the tool itself doesn't work. Right. Um, or the more importantly, there's not a, a significant benefit to practicing mindfulness in our day-to-day lives. And so just to recap, the definition of mindfulness, right. And this is from John [inaudible], who, again, has many teachings, many writings on this. And you know, what is often credited as one of the people that really brought mindfulness to the Western society. Right. Um, because I mean, it is more of a, an Eastern philosophy and with meditation and mindfulness being rooted in, in many cases in, um, in Buddhism. Right. And so, but, but instead of looking at it as a, as a spiritual practice, right. I mean, you know, w what we're really trying to just look at the practicality and the benefit of practicing something like this.


So when you look at something like an anxiety or a problem with anxiety, right. What's happening. And if you're feeling overwhelmed, if you're having intrusive thoughts, what's happening is you're having this experience in your mind. Right. And in many cases, it's not actually the experience itself that is too overwhelming for you, but it's future pacing, this experience, or what this experience means down the road, that then is what you're reacting to. Right. Because most of us, we can have an intrusive thought like right now and actually be okay, cause it's just something that happened and it's done, right. I mean, second by second, by second. But with OCD and anxiety, what happens is, is we have an intrusive thought, right. Or we have a, what if kind of thought in our mind, and then what happens is we create a story around that thought, right? We tell ourselves a story about what it means, because we had that thought I'm a bad person, because I had this thought, right. I shouldn't have thoughts like this. These thoughts are, um, you know, they're terrible, right. I need to get rid of them.


These are stories, right. You know, cause, cause again, think, think about it like this. And this is really the difference between the idea of, of something being a law versus something, being a belief. And I talk a lot about this in our taking back control program and restored minds, right? A lot of the work here is really uncovering subconscious beliefs and reworking beliefs that are going to serve you as opposed to ones that are hurting you. Right. But if you already believe that you shouldn't have intrusive thoughts in many ways, you won't be able to use mindfulness to your benefit. And here's why, because if you have this narrative that these thoughts are bad, I need to get rid of them. You're already not being mindful. Right. So trying to use mindfulness when you're already not being mindful, it's not going to work. So again, when we talk about [inaudible] definition of paying attention on purpose in the present moment, non-judging non-judgmentally well, if we're already judging the thought as bad, and then trying to use that tool in a non-judgemental way, like, do you see the paradox there?


You know, my hope is you do. And, and what's so interesting to me, you know, with most people that I've ever I've ever worked with, you know, whether it be in our coaching programs or, um, you know, one-on-one is that if I asked, I said, okay, look, if your friend had the same thought as you, what would you tell them right now? If your friend was like, Hey, oh my gosh, that doorknob, it might be contaminated. I need to go wash my hands. Most of us would give the correct advice to friends, you know, or if someone had an intrusive, violent thought about a family member and they were reacting in a very panic state to it, you would probably say, no, you know, that's just a thought, but when we have it, because


There's this huge emotional surge that occurs with a thought, yeah, we then judge both the thought and the emotional experience that we're having and then try to get rid of them. And then what happens is we take a tool and then use it in a compulsive way. This is why what's paradoxical. Is that when you, when you teach meditation to someone who is, um, dealing with OCD and anxiety, what they'll begin to do in some cases is start. So use the meditation as a compulsion. Right. Which, which is, again, is so backwards, right? It's like, and, and again, this is something that I did K for, you know? So, so it's like when I was shining light on this is because I look back on a lot of my own stuff and I was like, oh, oh my gosh, this is what I was doing.


Okay. But, but when you understand that the idea is to just be here, right. And only handle here only, only handle right now. And this is why, you know, we're, we're incorporating, um, readings, like the power of now into this series as well. What is he saying? The power of now is the power of right now. I mean, really it's the same message. Be mindful, be present, be right here right now. Non-judgemental and you can handle right now. You've always been able to handle right now. What you can handle is five minutes from now, five weeks from now, five months from now, five years from now, because here's, here's where the intrusive thoughts go. It says, oh my God, I had an intrusive thought, what if I have an intrusive thought in five minutes? What if these go on for the next day? What if they go on for the next week, month? What if I have them for the rest of my life? And you're trying to resolve the rest of your life right now. Yeah. Which is overwhelming because it doesn't exist. This


Is what creates overlap. When we take our conscious awareness and put it into the future, right. We're trying to solve something that doesn't need to be solved. That's what is so overwhelming about OCD for so many people, is that it's not even the thought that they're having right now. It's the idea of having more thoughts in the future and trying to resolve that before it ever happens. Now, what mindfulness does is it allows us to focus right now and handle what's happening right now. And if the more and more we can be nonjudgmental right now, we can actually continue that for the rest of our life. We can actually be free from this in many ways. And it's not the only tool, right. There's obviously other things that need to happen here. That's why we teach the AAA response over restored mind. So if you don't know what that is, I mean, please click the links down below and like, we'll take you over.


And again, we have a whole training on that. Right. But, um, but, but when we're using mindfulness in conjunction with that, what we're really doing is we're being non-judgemental right in the present moment and we're paying attention on purpose. Right. And paying attention to right now by choice, not just letting our mind go wherever it wants to go, or our emotions take us off into wherever they're taking us off to it's about that conscious awareness and that conscious choice and that witness consciousness in the present moment right now, you know, non-judgmentally so, um, and then when we talk about intrusive thoughts, when you're trying to use meditation to get rid of thoughts or mindfulness, to get rid of thoughts, I want you to see how paradoxical that is. Right. And so the real whole, whole point is because just by doing that, you're already not doing it, you know?


And, um, and I, and I really hope that you get that when you're, if you're listening to, or watching this or whatever, because understanding that again, changes the game. And, and sometimes it's about understanding what we shouldn't do before we understand what we should do. And because most of us are so reactive looking for that solution, looking for that solution. Um, these are very, very powerful tools when used correctly. And so the hope of this series is to really help you shine a light on what they are, why we use them, how we use them to in conjunction with the correct cognitive behavioral techniques, specifically the AAA response, right. And ERP and all that other stuff that we use. So, um, hopefully that's helpful. And, um, you know, and if you found this helpful, please share it with a friend, um, you know, let other people know, um, as well as, you know, give us support by liking and subscribing.


We really appreciate that. And for those of you that are looking for more, more of this, right, and really continuing on your journey and going into deeper levels, right. Um, we have, again, a bunch of resources for you [email protected]. All you need to do is just look in the links down beneath, um, in the, in the notes here. And you'll be able to, you'll be taken right to some page where we can download some resources are joined on, uh, our next free training. Um, you know, to really, really go deeper on this. So thank you so much for hanging out today. Really appreciate you guys spend time and, um, yeah, I wish you a great week and I look forward to seeing you on the next episode, take care.


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