Try for freeTry for free
AdviceDisturbing Images

Disturbing Images

When disturbing thoughts and feelings surface, learn how to let them go.

Try 14 days free

Better mental health starts with Headspace. Unrivaled expertise to make life feel a little easier, using guided meditations, mindfulness tips, focus tools, sleep support, and dedicated programs.

Try 14 days free
Better mental health starts with Headspace

So if we sit and watch the mind for long enough, then we get to see most, sort of stories told, if you like. So the mind is rich with stories, with thoughts, with feelings. Some of them we entertain and engage with, maybe even encourage. Others, we might resist in some way. There are the thoughts and images and sounds that we like, that bring us a sense of happiness and joy. And then there are those images and thoughts and perhaps sounds that make us feel uncomfortable in some way. They might make us feel anxious, or sad, or angry, or embarrassed or guilty. The truth is when we are watching the mind, we can't say in that moment, in the moment the thought arises, there is something incredibly innocent about it. It's only the application of our ideas retrospectively that we can in any way give it context. In the moment, it is simply a thought. It is nothing more than that. It's an expression of the mind. Of course, we immediately jump on it and try to make sense of it, or to give it a sense of purpose or something. But in the moment itself, it is just a thought. And that's really, really important when it comes to this idea of disturbing images. So disturbing images can encompass so many different things. They're the same, they might be things that leave us feeling very frightened or overly excited. We can be caught up in a sense of desire. We can encourage that. And often they seem in conflict somehow with our idea of what it means to sit down and get some head space. But then maybe, just maybe the way we've been thinking about that as an idea is, you know, as an exercise has not been entirely accurate because it's so easy to think that head space, you know, when we sit down and practice an exercise like this, that it is about simply calming the mind, getting some clarity. Well, yes it is, but it's about a lot more than that. It's about witnessing the mind as it is in this moment, not judging, not criticizing, no sense of bias, but just watching, learning to watch thoughts and feelings come and go. It's not our job to filter. So if you think about dreams at nighttime, the filter is off, it's completely off, which is why we may well, if we think about a nightmare, we might well experience very disturbing kinda images in the mind. But then we wake up, and it's kinda like oh, okay, it was just a dream. In a similar way, you know, when we experience them during the day, as soon as we wake up, and by wake up, I mean, kind of we are aware and conscious, oh look, it's just a thought, it's very similar kinda things, oh, okay, I was just thinking, okay, I'm back again. But instead we give it a...


Duration6 min

About your teachers

  • A former Buddhist monk, Andy has guided people in meditation and mindfulness for 20 years. In his mission to make these practices accessible to all, he co-created the Headspace app in 2010.

    More about Andy
  • Eve is a mindfulness teacher, overseeing Headspace’s meditation curriculum. She is passionate about sharing meditation to help others feel less stressed and experience more compassion in their lives.

    More about Eve
  • As a meditation teacher, Dora encourages others to live, breathe, and be with the fullness of their experiences. She loves meditation’s power to create community and bring clarity to people’s minds.

    More about Dora
  • Kessonga has been an acupuncturists, therapist, and meditation teacher, working to bring mindfulness to the diverse populations of the world.

    More about Kessonga
  • Rosie Acosta has studied yoga and mindfulness for more than 20 years and taught for over a decade. Rosie’s mission is to help others overcome adversity and experience radical love.

    More about Rosie
Your lifelong guide to better mental health

Your lifelong guide to better mental health

Stress, sleep, and all the challenging emotions — care for your mind with the everyday mental health app that's shown to make a difference.

Try 14 days free
Look After Your Mind

Look after your mind

Proven guided meditations and programs to help you stress less, sleep more soundly, and better navigate life’s challenges

Science Backed


Studies show that using Headspace for 30 days can reduce stress, increase resilience, and improve overall well-being

Explore Content

Explore 1000+ 
expert-led exercises

Access our library of meditations, breathing exercises, and guidance videos for stress, sleep, focus, everyday anxiety , parenting, and more.

Member reviews

Hear from some of our members

Your app brings so much peace and tolerance to our home.




Changing my thoughts has allowed me to change my life.




The stress and loneliness courses … taught me how to comfort myself.




Headspace provides me with … a connection to myself, and a disconnection from negative thoughts, feelings, and sensations.




Related to 'Disturbing Images'


Advice4 min

Advice on how to release yourself from guilty feelings.

More to explore

Beginning Meditation


Reframe Stress and Relax


New and Popular


Becoming a Mindful Parent

    • Terms & conditions
    • Privacy policy
    • Consumer Health Data
    • Your privacy choices
      Privacy Choices Icon
    • CA Privacy Notice
  • © 2024 Headspace Inc.
  • Terms & conditions
  • Privacy policy
  • Consumer Health Data
  • Your privacy choices
    Privacy Choices Icon
  • CA Privacy Notice