I struggle with intrusive negative thoughts…



Hi Rabbi Braun,

As Yidden, especially Chassidim, we believe in the power of thought (tracht gut etc.), a good thought can go a long way.

I struggle with intrusive thoughts that are negative (to say the least) and become so anxious and worried about how they may affect people and reality-especially when wishing them something not good-when Chas veShalom I would never EVER want that. In general, what are the implications/bearing of the effects of our thoughts? To what extent does thought affect things? In the end of the day everything is up to Hashem no? On one hand we’re told to think good because this can affect the outcome of things and on the other hand we’re told to dismiss thoughts and have hesech hadaas.

While I would like to try to have hesech hadaas and ignore them, the problem is only intensified since I see there are times where that thing actually comes true and very close in timing. This has happened quite a few times. (I am currently working with a frum therapist and we’re not exactly sure how to approach this, as I would like the Emes of the Torah) I’m not sure what to believe and don’t want to live with anxiety of always trying to have positive thoughts/avoid negative ones or the fear of what harm they can cause.

I would appreciate clarification and certainty on how to view and deal with the ramification of our thoughts.

A tremendous thank you and besoros tovos always.



First and foremost it is most important that you abide by the guidelines your therapist is giving you. Indeed it is a mitzvah in the Torah to look after our health – mental and emotional health is included as well, if not even more important.

It is true that negative thoughts can cause negative effects. However, this only applies for one who chooses to have negative thoughts. If these thoughts come to you against your will, as you have stated clearly that these are things that you don’t want to happen, they are harmless and should simply be ignored.

Dwelling on the these thoughts does no good for anyone. Usually, a good idea during such times is to to focus to other important pursuits, whether Torah study or even mundane things lhavdil, which require your focus and attention. I trust that your therapist will be able to help you in these matters.

Everybody has their unique challenge which has been given to them from above, as a means to improve themselves. This is not something that should put us off. On the contrary, this indicates the great trust that Hashem has in this individual that he can succeed under the circumstances.  The greater the challenge, the greater the person’s neshoma is and this indicates that there are more kochos this person receives from on High to deal with it.

The Torah advice is to take things step-by-step, not allowing us to become anxious about the fact that we haven’t yet reached our goal. This is a lifelong mission to achieve our purpose in this world and it should be done b’simcha.

Wishing you all well, especially and being able to accomplish these goals in a healthy manner.