1 • defuse your negative thoughts

 

This is the process that I taught Marjorie and have used successfully with many of my clients. If you are committed to happiness, then one of the skills that you will need to develop is that that of consciously disengaging any thoughts that are negative. I am not asking you to suppress or replace the negative thought with a more positive thought, because a positive thought is still only a thought, a distortion of reality. In fact one study found that people who suppress personally relevant intrusive thoughts (the type often seen in obsessive compulsive disorder) experience more intrusive thoughts, more distress, greater urge to do something than those that don't. Those who are willing to accept the reality of their thoughts were less depressed, anxious and obsessional.

 

The intention behind these techniques is not to control, change or get rid of unpleasant thoughts, but to reclaim your energy and attention from them and in doing so make yourself available for your inner wisdom, your deep knowing to reveal itself to you if that is appropriate. The consequence of doing this is often a positive shift in the way you feel.

 

So here is my invitation to you, anytime you become aware of a negative or unpleasant thought or image, reclaim your power from that thought, by taking a couple of long, slow deep breaths and then use one of the following

 

  • Repeat the thought out loud very slowly – repeat four or five times. Leave plenty of gaps in between each word. This is my number one favourite defusion technique because it allows awareness and spaciousness to arise as you do it. Click here to read my article on slow thought defusion
  • Say to yourself ‘oh that’s my mind speaking, lets listen to what it has to say’
  • Say to yourself ‘my mind is telling a story about….’

 

More often than not, using any one of these will reduce the intensity of any uncomfortable feelings that you are experiencing it’s just often a case of finding one that works for you. Over the next few days experiment with them to find out which works.

 

Here are some additional approaches that my clients find useful

 

  • If you get frustrated whilst using the above techniques, acknowledge that you are now fused with another thought, such as ‘I should be peaceful’ or ‘this is not working’
  • If you are struggling to experience space between you and your thought, you might want to consider practising mindfulness (see later)
  • If you are experiencing a lot of strong emotion that is keeping you trapped in the thought, do your 4/7 breathing (module one) and then use one of the emotional processing tools in module three.
  • If the negative thoughts are recurring you might one to address the underlying beliefs (see later) that are contributing to them

 

One of the concerns that some of my clients share with me is that by disengaging negative thoughts, we are potentially ignoring a situation that is actually a real problem. The truth is in fact the opposite. What we are doing is acknowledging and accepting the reality of the thought, and then by disengaging from the thought creating room and space for awareness and the present moment to provide us with direction or insight – if that is required. Let me give you an example. In my consultation with Sophie a 24 year old receptionist who was experiencing anxiety. One of the troubling thoughts that were triggering a lot of unhappiness was the thought that ‘she might lose her job because of company restructuring.’ I explained that this is not actually a negative thought, because it does accurately reflect the reality that her company was making redundancies. However what was negative was that sophie was fused with that thought and by doing so was allowing that thought to trigger a whole bunch of other distressing thoughts such as ‘they don’t want me’ ‘I am not going to be able to afford my mortgage’ ‘I don’t know what to do’, which in turn triggered anxiety within her. She used the defusion techniques with great success and after following my suggestions in sections two and three, which she did over a period of two months, she was able to completely relief her symptoms and start creating a more fulfilling life for herself.

 

Other tips for dealing with negative thoughts

 

When you get caught up in a negative thought ask yourself one of the following and notice how it shifts your energy

 

  • Will this matter in ten years from now?
  • I wonder what I can do access peace of mind right now?
  • What lesson do I have to learn?

 

 

 



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