Do you keep trying to get rid of negative thoughts without it working? You try really hard to challenge them and yet they feel like they’re always there? 

When we have thoughts like I’m useless and worthless or I’m stupid, it can really drag us down  Sometimes our thoughts become so invasive that we believe them with latch onto them we struggle with them, we fuse with them. Our minds can tell us lots of things that can really make us feel low, sad or even helpless. 

What happens if you pause for a moment took a step back and simply noticed them?

This process of simply noticing our thoughts it’s called defusion. Defusion means learning to step back and separate or detach ourselves from our thoughts images and memories. The technical term is called cognitive defusion but really we mostly just call it defusion.

Essentially defusion is about not getting caught up in our thoughts or being taken over by them instead it’s about letting them come and go as if they were just leaves on a stream floating by, or waves crashing into the sand they come and they go.

Cognitive defusion is about stepping back and watching our thinking instead of getting caught up in tangled with it or fused with it. It’s learning to see your thoughts for what they are nothing more than just words or pictures. Learning to hold them lightly and see them pass by instead of grabbing on and clutching them tightly.

It’s not about challenging thoughts or understanding if they’re true or not it’s about saying to yourself how useful are these thoughts? Are they helpful in this moment or are they holding you back or getting in the way?

3 steps to help you defuse from your thoughts

Notice your thoughts

  • Notice what’s your mind telling you now?
  • What does your thinking self have to say about what your mind is telling you now?
  • Can you notice what you’re thinking right now?

How workable are these thoughts?

  • Ask yourself is this a helpful thought? 
  • Is this thought getting in the way of you taking action?
  • If you hold onto it tightly does it help you deal with the situation at hand?
  • If you let that thought tell you what to do which direction will it take you in? Will it take it towards living a rich full and meaningful life or in the direction of being stuck in suffering

Notice are you fused or defused from your thought

  • Ask yourself how caught up am I in this thought?
  • Did you notice if your mind hooked you into that thought?

By Marie Vakakis

Accredited Mental Health Social Worker and Clinical Family Therapist