Why are so many people drawn to conspiracy theories in times of crisis?
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Thanks for your post. Your questions get right to the heart of the matter for a difficulty for many people who worry and ruminate and who have intrusive thoughts - which is that the trigger for their thoughts is difficult or impossible to remove - either because it is something inside them like feeling low, or a self-critical thought or a memory or something outside in the world that is very commonly experienced.
This is not an uncommon experience as much rumination is triggered by internal feelings that we all have such as feeling sad or tense. And we would not recommend trying to get rid of these feelings - as you cannot avoid your reminders.
Part of the solution is the 4th element I mentioned in the blog - which is to practice an alternative response to the trigger so that you learn a new habit instead of overthinking. It is hard to recommend this in absence of a clinical consultation, but the ideal alternative is one that you can easily practice, that acts opposite to the rumination and intrusions - for example is relaxing and calming, and is easily associated with the trigger. For example, we found in a previous trial, that practising muscle relaxation exercises in response to triggers was helpful for some people.
An important way to learn a new habit is to practice a new way of responding and thinking to the trigger. You mention that you find this traumatic, which suggests that it brings up bad past memories. In these situations, it can be very helpful to work closely with an accredited and experienced therapist in terms of exposure and cognitive behavioural therapy to tackle the traumatic memories - and if you have not done this before that could be helpful for you. It sounds as if the trigger brings up difficult memories for you - spending time going through these memories in detail in a safe and calming environment and learning new ways to respond and perceive them can be very helpful in making them less intrusive and in turn reducing this automatic response. This is best done with a therapist who has good experience at working with this.
I hope this is helpful
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