Control of intrusive thoughts

Write down the thoughts in detail
Turn the text into ‘silly’ song lyrics which you can sing to yourself
Change the order of the thoughts, read them from back to front, make a ‘funny’ change
Use forceful thoughts or statements expressing coping, such as: I do what I can, I am getting help, I am coping


is also suitable for controlling intrusive thoughts

Find an intrusive thought
When you have found it, say ‘stop’
Say it silently to yourself when there is someone nearby
Prepare a replacement thought or image that you can use after you have said ‘stop’
Repeat a ‘strong’ thought to yourself, like ‘I can do it’, ‘This will go well’, or ‘I am in control of my thoughts’.
Practise that for 15 minutes a day
Use this exercise every time you have unwanted thoughts
Combine being reminded of intrusive thoughts with having strong thoughts


suitable for controlling intrusive mental images

Imagine a TV screen in front of you and let the intrusive mental image fill it
Imagine having the remote control in your hand
Push the off button. Repeat the procedure.
If you cannot switch off the mental image, try changing the channel instead
Change the mental image in different ways



Avoid suppressing your thoughts if it requires a lot of energy – pick a suitable time for addressing these thoughts
Do not engage in avoidant behaviour, which will prevent you from learning that the worst/the threat is already over
Staying constantly active will prevent you from processing what happened


How to divert your focus away from bad memories or things?

Think about something else from the beginning to the end in great detail
Engage in your favourite activities
Listen to music or play an instrument
Read a book that captivates you
Watch an interesting film
Run, play ball, do sports
Play board games, etc., put together a jigsaw puzzle