Thought Suppression Doesn't Work!!
You may have heard it multiple times, but consider this a little reminder. THOUGHT SUPPRESSION NEVER WORKS! This short but hefty statement is considered one of the golden rules when it comes to the management of anxiety disorders, specifically Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety
, Healthy Anxiety and Phobias.
However, the truth is, we all attempt to make our “bad” or anxiety-provoking thoughts away. We try to push them down so they won't hurt us anymore. We try to make them go away, so we don’t have to feel the related shame, guilt, irritation, and annoyance of these thoughts. Does this sound anything like you? Let me tell you, you are in the right place.
You see, this is a very common reaction to intrusive, anxiety-producing thoughts. For those with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Health Anxiety (hypochondria), Social Anxiety, Panic Disorder or Specific Phobias, thought suppression can be involuntary and we often do not even know we are doing it. Intuitively, our brains will fight or run away from almost anything that creates discomfort for us. We are biologically set up for fight, flight or freeze.
In today’s episode, we talk about why thought suppression never works. We talk about how thought suppression can actually increase our anxiety over time and how thought suppression teaches us to intuitively judge our thoughts as bad.
If this sounds counter-intuitive to you, you are not alone. My clients and the members of the CBT School Campus
are commonly asking some pretty great questions about this, so I wondered if this was a topic that might benefit you.
In this week's episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast, we talk about how Mindfulness can help us to accept and allow thoughts, non-judgmentally. We address how it can change the dynamic between you and your thoughts to a more peaceful and coexisting relationship.
Remember, allowing thoughts is the key. Allow them to come and go. Accept them and see what happens. Listen to hear more!