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ΑρχικήEnglish EditionIntrusive Vs Impulsive Thoughts

Intrusive Vs Impulsive Thoughts

By Sophia Machaira,

The following article exists to summarize a video on this subject and is not through the lens of a professional. In the kaleidoscope of our daily existence, thoughts weave through our minds incessantly, ranging from positive to negative, from numerous to scarce, and so on. However, one category that many people often misinterpret is known as intrusive thoughts. Yet, why is there so much persistent confusion about it on the internet? Are the lines blurred with another type? The answer to the latter is yes!

To begin the process of untangling the misconceptions, let us examine what intrusive thoughts mean, based on online misinformation. The phrase is assumed to encapsulate everything that the brain can come up with on the spot. Meaning, every random, fleeting idea that, of course, the body usually does not act upon. This is not the correct description of the phrase, but that is what every piece of media means when they use the sentence: “The intrusive thoughts won”.

In the world of social media, the term “intrusive” is often misused, when what is truly meant is “impulsive”. The previous paragraph described exactly that, and “The intrusive thoughts won” implies giving into impulsive behavior. Most of the time, such behavior is harmless to the individual and to those around them. That is the reason why a lot of content can be produced online using this format as a joke. Even if some people can tell that the incorrect term can be part of the irony, it remains a source of misinformation to everyone who has not considered that the distinction exists. Unbeknownst to them, there are people with mental health conditions, whose symptoms do include inclusive thoughts. It is thus deemed necessary to properly explain this term.

Image Rights: unsplash.com / Credits: Nik Shuliahin

The reality of intrusive thoughts is that they are unwanted. They may also be unpleasant, while also being outside of the desires and control of the individual. In other words, intruders to the conscience. By no means do they reflect one’s true thoughts or intentions! That is what makes them such a heavy “burden”. Meanwhile, the internet gives voice to everyone around the globe. Automatically managing and filtering through so much data successfully is an impossible task. So, when we are online, we too, need to play our part, be responsible, research, and decide which information holds value, what is used for comical effect, what is ignorant, etc. Plus, amidst the hundreds of societal expectations, we can foster empathy and open dialogue about mental health and contribute to cultivating a compassionate network where individuals feel supported in sharing their experiences without any fear of judgment.

Now that everything has been cleared up, how can one deal with intrusive thoughts? Perhaps the most ignored suggestion is acknowledgment and acceptance instead of suppression. No compulsion exists to be engaged with or analyzed to look for hidden explanations and meanings. Rather, the focus should be on the present and finding relaxation techniques or activities that work for the person, such as practicing mindfulness or yoga. This includes proper self-care of both the body and the soul, i.e., getting enough sleep and maintaining a healthy diet. Equally crucial is being surrounded by supportive people, but professional help is the most effective resource.

In short, the mind absorbs and is influenced by everything around it and everything we choose to dwell in. Letting thoughts go haywire can yield damage at first subconsciously and later noticeably by distressing and interfering with our lives. In the face of these challenges, resilience becomes our ally, urging us to stand firm against our impulses. As we navigate the complex terrain of intrusions and compulsions, let us remain steadfast and resilient, emerging stronger than the thoughts which from the start, do not describe who we are!

  • This Is Not What ‘Intrusive Thoughts’ Means. youtube.com. Available here



Sophia Machaira
Sophia Machaira
Born and raised in Athens in 2002, studies at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, department of Informatics and Telecommunications. Adores writing free-verse poetry, fluent in English and hopes to work in web design.