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First, there’s a trigger; something that is noticed in your physical, social, or mental worlds.

Second, it instantly activates an obsession — thoughts, feelings, or impulses that are distressful.

An impulse is a sudden force, or desire — this could be an electrical impulse, or an impulse to gamble. An impulse is not something you’ve given a lot of thought.

If you act on a sudden feeling or thought, you’re following an impulse.