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Top 21 Intrusive Thoughts Quotes

Intrusive Thoughts Quotes

This post contains some of the best intrusive thoughts quotes.

Intrusive Thoughts Quotes

1. “…ask yourself, What is happening around me that’s so upsetting? Often our intrusive thoughts are triggered by the events, people, and situations we encounter. Whatever you are doing at any moment will influence what you think.” – David A. Clarck

2. “…people who believe that all vulnerable people and living things should be protected are people who fight common intrusive thoughts that sometimes involve actions like abusing children, throwing cats out windows, and dropping babies. These are the thoughts you fight—and because you fight them, they stick.” – Sally M. Winston & Martin N. Seif

3. “An unwanted intrusive thought sometimes feels like an impulse to perform an unwanted action. Other times, it feels impossibly stuck in your head. Your efforts to deal with it become all-encompassing and take up so much time, mental energy, and focus that your quality of life is degraded.” – Sally M. Winston & Martin N. Seif

Related: How To Stop Self-Critical Thoughts Using These Top 10 Techniques

4. “An unwanted intrusive thought starts as just an ordinary intrusive thought, weird, funny, or repugnant as it may be. But not wanting the thought, worrying about it, or fighting with it stops it from passing quickly. Chances are, you don’t want it because you are upset or turned off by the content. But that is just the beginning. Because you worry about it, reject it, and try to push it out of your mind, it pushes back and becomes a recurring thought or image.” – Sally M. Winston & Martin N. Seif

5. “Attention can be directed internally or externally, and it can have a single focus or an open-field focus. When we focus attention on a single object again and again, such as the breath, we become calmer. That’s because we’re abandoning disturbing thoughts and stopping the mind from jumping around like a monkey” – Christopher K. Germer

6. “Becoming more aware of intrusive thinking is challenging because these thoughts often pop into the mind unexpectedly and then disappear before we know it.” – David A. Clarck

7. “But not all mental intrusions are meaningless head noise. Sometimes an intrusive thought, image, or memory involves something that we find intensely negative or threatening. These upsetting intrusions grab our attention, interrupt our train of thought, and can be incredibly difficult to ignore.” – David A. Clarck

8. “Contrary to common sense, reducing your effort to avoid intrusive thoughts will often lead to less distress.” – Sally M. Winston & Martin N. Seif

9. “Everyone is different. The intrusive thoughts that bother you most and how you respond to them will be unique to you.” – David A. Clarck

Related: What Is the 333 Rule for Anxiety? (& Other Anxiety Coping Strategies)

10. “Good help for unwanted intrusive thoughts is hard to find and access. Talking with sympathetic friends or family who do not understand is usually not helpful and can often make things worse.” – Sally M. Winston & Martin N. Seif

Negative Thoughts Worksheets

11. “If you are worried that you can catch someone else’s intrusive thought, it may help to know that people tend to stay in their own categories, although they may wander a bit from one specific content of intrusive thought to another.” – Sally M. Winston & Martin N. Seif

12. “Intrusive thoughts are common, but for most people they are quickly forgotten and create minimal or no discomfort. For someone who isn’t struggling with or worrying about intrusive thoughts, they provide weird, uncomfortable, or even funny moments…and then they are over. Sometimes they startle.” – Sally M. Winston & Martin N. Seif

13. “Intrusive thoughts, however weird or scary, are universal and unimportant. Unwanted intrusive thoughts get stuck because you inadvertently fuel them by trying to banish them. They fluctuate in intensity and frequency based on the fuel they receive—triggering events in the real world or the stickiness of your mind due to fatigue, mood, or anxiety—and, ironically, by the amount of effort you expend to try to counteract, avoid, or suppress them.” – Sally M. Winston & Martin N. Seif

14. “Just about everyone has intrusive thoughts. They are uninvited thoughts that jump into the mind and do not seem to be part of the ongoing flow of intentional thinking.” – Sally M. Winston & Martin N. Seif

Related: What Causes Cognitive Distortions? (+Top 10 Common Cognitive Distortions & How To Challenge Them)

15. “Most intrusive thoughts—no matter how bizarre or repugnant—occupy only a few moments. People rarely mention them or think about them again.” – Sally M. Winston & Martin N. Seif

16. “Not entirely unwanted intrusive thoughts are only a problem if you start struggling with them, if you worry about them and what they mean, or if you judge them as sick or bad. They pass when the emotion that is driving them (anger, grief, early romance, resentment) subsides over time. They are not indications of character or impulses to be resisted: they are your rich imagination at work. No one is free of not entirely unwanted intrusive thoughts. It is only the struggle against them that is problematic” – Sally M. Winston & Martin N. Seif

17. “Of course, there are other times when our free-floating, or intrusive, thoughts take on a darker, more negative tone because they’re triggered by a stressful or problematic situation. Our memory for this type of thinking is sharper because these thoughts focus on issues more important to our general well-being.” – David A. Clarck

18. “People who are impulsive act first and think later. People with unwanted intrusive thoughts are over-thinkers.” – Sally M. Winston & Martin N. Seif

Related: High Functioning Anxiety Test (& How To Support Anxiety Recovery)

19. “So the content of unwanted intrusive thoughts is the opposite of what you want to be thinking about. It is the opposite of your values, the opposite of your wishes, and the opposite of your character. It is the opposite of you.” – Sally M. Winston & Martin N. Seif

20. “Suffering about unwanted intrusive thoughts is a disorder of overcontrol, not undercontrol. (Undercontrol disorders are sometimes known as impulsivity.) Disorders of overcontrol are usually accompanied by a problem with doubt or uncertainty.” – Sally M. Winston & Martin N. Seif

21.  “When bored, we are especially prone to intrusive thinking. Our mind switches into an automatic mode which generates free-floating thoughts that are entirely disconnected from each other and may have little relevance to our current situation. It’s like our mind is always in an active, unsettled state, even when we feel understimulated.” – David A. Clarck

Related: Half-Smiling Technique to Reduce Emotional Distress

Negative Thoughts Worksheets (2)


  • Portions of this article were adapted from the book The Anxious Thoughts Workbook, © 2018 by David A. Clarck. All rights reserved.
  • Portions of this article were adapted from the book Overcoming Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts, © 2017 by Sally M. Winston & Martin N. Seif. All rights reserved.

By Hadiah

Hadiah is a counselor who is passionate about supporting individuals on their journey towards mental well-being. Hadiah not only writes insightful articles on various mental health topics but also creates engaging and practical mental health worksheets.

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