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How mindfulness helps with intrusive thoughts

Ian (27) suffered from intrusive thoughts, like: “thinking gay thoughts can make me gay”. ¬†Whenever he noticed himself looking at a man in the street he had an intrusive doubt: Do I ¬†find him attractive?

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This made him feel anxious and annoyed. He tried to control his thoughts by trying not to have thoughts, having heterosexual thoughts and look at girls. He also checked his arousal level.

Mindfulness helped him to detach from intrusions: instead of ruminating on them or by using all kind of strategies, he was encouraged to passively let go of intrusions. Allowing them to occupy their own space without engaging in them. Reduction in his distress makes clear that responses to intrusions rather than intrusions themselves are the problem.