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Have you ever heard of invasive thoughts?
It’s a term I use to describe the thoughts, energies, and worries I pick up by being around other people. Like an invasive species, these thoughts tend to grow rampant and clog up my brain. This leaves little room for my own thoughts to thrive.
HSP’s, Empaths and invasive thoughts
There’s a lot of good that comes with being a Highly Sensitive Empath, but there are also some unique struggles. One of the biggest is that I’m an unwitting sponge for other people’s invasive thoughts.
That means it’s very easy for me to pick up that which is not mine. I can seriously spend a whole day being miserable about something that isn’t even affecting me. Yikes!
A Four Step Method For Removing Invasive thoughts
Basically, worrying about someone else’s problems keeps me from living my best life. That’s why I have to practice a little Mental Hygiene each day to parse out which thoughts are mine and which ones are invasive.
Recently, I’ve developed a four step method to combat invasive thoughts. It seems to work pretty well so far: giving me more energy and less worry during the day.
Check it out below, I hope it works as well for you as it does for me <3
Step One: Identify INvasive thoughts
Start by writing down all your current worries and thoughts in a journal. There are many methods to do this: Morning Pages, Brain Dumps, Stream of Consciousness Writing.
However you do it is a-ok as long as the thoughts get out of your head. If you don’t know where to start, you can get lots of handy Morning Page templates from my fellow blogger Little Coffee Fox.
Once you’ve got those thoughts on to paper, it’s time to really consider which ones might not be yours. Helpful hint: if it’s something that involves worrying about another person or something out of your control; it’s not yours.
Step 2: Meditate on your thoughts
Meditation is a really useful tool to help you clearly see what thoughts are yours and which ones are invasive.
After you’ve considered your list for a while, take a quick 5-10 minute meditation. During this time, really focus on how each point on the list makes you feel. Does it feel good to dwell on a thought? Is it painful to sit with it? Is it overwhelming?
How you feel about a thought, worry, or obsession can be very telling about who it belongs to. If it brings you more anxiety than joy, then a thought is very likely not your own.
Helpful hint: This exercise is best paired with a timed audio meditation without a lot of guidance. I like the “Calm Light” feature on my Calm App, but you can also find lots of similar meditations on YouTube.
Step 3: Thank the invasive thoughts
At this point, it’s time to start releasing the invasive thoughts. But before they go, it’s really important to thank the thought for its presence.
You see, these non-native thoughts aren’t inherently bad. The fact that you’re holding onto them shows you really care about the world and other people. You’ve likely picked up these energies because you have the wonderful ability to empathize with the person putting them off.
And often these thoughts have something to teach us while they visit our minds. For instance, I’ve been pre-occupied with worry about a friend’s romantic relationship. Thinking about ways to help them improve their dynamic led me to a plethora of ways to re-engage with my own husband.
I like to think of these alien thoughts as wise visitors, just passing by with important information. It’s only polite to thank them for their wisdom before letting them go!
Step 4: Let Go of the invasive thoughts
Like all visitors, these invasive thoughts can overstay their welcome. That’s why it’s crucial to let them go. Before they make themselves at home.
Return to the list you made on Step 1. Now you should be able to clearly identify which thoughts aren’t yours. Go down the list and cross out the thoughts that aren’t yours.
Make sure to do this mindfully, pausing with each one you cross off and silently saying “Thank you, I let you go.”
By the end of this exercise, you should be able to physically see how many non-native thoughts were clogging your mind. Today, 6 out 10 of my biggest worries ended up not being my own.
I was actually pretty astounded by that number. I couldn’t believe I was spending so much time worrying about things I have no control over! Y
You might also be surprised by how many invasive thoughts exist in your mind. I’ve included the fillable PDF of the Worksheet below for you to try. If you do this exercise, please let me know how it went in the comments below. I really hope this helps <3
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