This is something you may have heard many times, but here is a little reminder. THOUGHT SUPPRESSION NEVER WORKS! This short statement bears so much weight and is considered one of the golden rules to manage anxiety disorder: specifically, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Panic Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Social Anxiety, Health Anxiety, and Phobias.
That being said, the reality is that we all attempt to make our anxiety-provoking or “bad” thoughts go away. We try to push them down so they won’t hurt us anymore and so we don’t have to feel the related shame, irritation, guilt, and annoyance of these thoughts. If this sounds like you, let me tell you…you are in the right place.
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You see, when people have intrusive, anxiety-producing thoughts, attempting to suppress them is a very common reaction. This can be involuntary for those with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Health Anxiety (Hypochondria), Panic Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), and Specific Phobias. We often do not know that we are even doing it. Intuitively, our brains will run away from or fight almost anything that creates discomfort or distress for us. As humans, we are biologically set up for fight, flight, or freeze.
This podcast episode is all about why thought suppression never works, how it teaches us to intuitively judge our thoughts as bad, and how it can actually increase our anxiety over time.
I know that this might sound counter-intuitive to you. You are not alone with this thought process! My clients and the members of the CBT School Campus are commonly asking some pretty great questions about this, so I thought this topic would be of benefit to you.
Another topic of discussion in this week’s episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast is mindfulness and how it can help us to accept the presence of thoughts and allow them, non-judgmentally. We address how the practice of mindfulness can change the dynamic between you and your thoughts to a more peaceful, co-existing relationship.
What I really want you to remember is that allowing thoughts is the key! Allow them to come and go. Make space for them. Accept their presence and see what happens.
One more thing before we go! ERP School (our online course for Exposure & Response Prevention for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and other Anxiety Disorders) is COMING SOON, so stay tuned. Sign up HERE to be on the waitlist and be alerted as soon as it is available.
Forward we go,
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