In today’s video, I want to talk about how to beat intrusive thoughts.

Read or watch below to learn more about how to beat intrusive thoughts.

Zachary Stockill: For over ten years now, I’ve been helping men and women from all over the world overcome unwanted intrusive thoughts, usually about their partner’s past relationships and/or sexual history.

Overcoming unwanted intrusive thoughts isn’t easy. However, there’s a different way of perceiving intrusive thoughts that many people find very helpful.

And if you start perceiving your intrusive thoughts this way, it will get easier to overcome them when necessary.

In today’s video, I’m going to share what I believe to be the number one secret about how to beat intrusive thoughts.

When people reach out for help with intrusive thoughts, they ask me things like:

‘Zach, I keep having this unwanted thought about my partner’s past or my girlfriend’s ex, and I want to block that thought.

I want to get rid of the thought as soon as it appears. I don’t want to dwell on this any longer. I’m looking to shield myself from these thoughts. Can you help me do that?’

As you’re likely aware, it’s incredibly challenging—some might even say impossible—to control your thoughts or dictate which thoughts enter your mind.

In the past, I’ve mentioned what it’s like when someone tells you, ‘Don’t think about a pink elephant.’

Do not let yourself think about a pink elephant.

Needless to say, when you hear this, even though you’re trying not to think about something, what are you thinking about but a pink elephant?

It’s very difficult to control your thoughts.

However, there’s something very important that many people struggling with intrusive thoughts seem to overlook, and that is that when you’re struggling with unwanted intrusive thoughts, two things are going on.

There’s the thought, and then there’s your reaction to the thought. These are two separate processes.

People often believe that their thoughts and emotional reactions are interconnected, thinking that we can’t control our emotional responses to our thoughts, as if the emotion is inextricably linked to the thought itself.

But that isn’t true.

There’s the thought, and there’s your reaction to the thought, and these are two different things.

While you can always do a lot about the actual thought popping into your head, you can also do a great deal about your reaction to that thought, about starting to change and control your reaction to that thought, which is what I wanted to talk about today.

Intrusive thoughts feed off of emotional energy.

When an intrusive thought pops into your head, and you have a strong emotional reaction to it, that sends a signal to your brain that whatever you’re thinking about is important. It’s noteworthy.


Otherwise, you wouldn’t be having an emotional reaction to it.

When you come to this realization and begin to take measures to control your emotional responses, things start to change for the better.

As you resist giving in to intrusive thoughts and deny them the emotional energy they seek, you’ll notice an improvement. Over time, these intrusive thoughts will become increasingly infrequent.

Because when you consistently refrain from reacting emotionally to a thought, your brain receives the message repeatedly.

It starts to consider that maybe this intrusive thought isn’t as significant as previously believed since you aren’t responding emotionally to it.

You start sending your brain the signal over and over, intentionally, that this thought, or this series of thoughts, or this topic isn’t important, because you are not reacting emotionally to it.

So, if you’re wondering how to beat intrusive thoughts, my advice is not to see it as trying to block a thought from your consciousness, or wanting to never think about something ever again.

I understand feeling that way, but a better question to ask, and a better way to look at this is: how can I control my emotional reaction to those thoughts?

Because once you start getting a handle on that, eventually, the thoughts will become less and less frequent, without you having to do anything.

So the obvious question is, how can you start controlling your emotional reaction to intrusive thoughts?

There are techniques that can assist you in this. Some involve mindfulness; others involve breath work. Additionally, some incorporate cognitive behavior therapy, a subject I’ve extensively studied.

If you want all kinds of resources to start getting a handle on your reaction to intrusive thoughts, I wanted to take a moment to tell you about my free video mini-course for anyone struggling with retroactive jealousy.

In other words, if you are struggling with intrusive thoughts about your partner’s past, I put together a free, four-part video mini-course containing some tools to help you get started getting this problem handled.

There are some practical exercises you can try.

There are some time-tested techniques that you can use that will increase your chances of overcoming retroactive jealousy as quickly as possible, or at the very least, are going to help you get started on the path to total recovery from retroactive jealousy.

So if you’re struggling with intrusive thoughts about your partner’s past, click this link to sign up for my free four-part video mini-course on how to get started overcoming retroactive jealousy.

There’s no catch. It’s free. You can unsubscribe anytime, but give it a try because I think you’ll find it very helpful. There’s some material in there that is exclusive.

It’s not on my YouTube channel. It isn’t anywhere else. Give it a try, and I think you’ll find it extremely useful.

If you’d like more information about my work or you’d like to work with me one-on-one, please visit this page.

And be sure you’re subscribed to my YouTube channel as well to be notified of new videos.

Zachary Stockill
Zachary Stockill

Hi! I'm a Canadian author and educator whose work has been featured in BBC News, BBC Radio 4, The Huffington Post, and many other publications. I'm the founder of, the author of Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy and The Overcoming Jealousy Workbook, and the host of Humans in Love podcast.