CBT Self Help Course - Step 6
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Distancing or Defusing from Thoughts
Remember that Playground Bully? Victim 1 believed the bully and became upset. Victim 2 challenged back and the bully eventually loses his power and gives up. Victim 3 was quite different. He didn't react at all. He merely acknowledged the bully, then turned away and went off to play with his friends.
Defusing from our thoughts involves acknowledging the thought as a thought, not reacting automatically, then choosing to put our focus of attention elsewhere.
Thoughts can be described as 'passing streams of words', or passing images or sensations, rather than the statements of fact that we usually accept them to be. We can practice mindfulness techniques so that we can learn to observe those words, images or sensations, rather than engage with them, or buy into them.
Start with learning Mindful Breathing, and practice often, several times a day, just for 3-5 minutes at a time. The more you practice, the more effective it will be. You will be constantly distracted by intrusive thoughts, sounds, images, sensations - but that's ok. The only aim of mindfulness is to notice when your mind wanders, and repeatedly to bring your attention back to your breathing, or perhaps to an activity you are engaged in. Practice the techniques on this page.
Earlier, we learned about noticing thoughts, feelings and behaviours, and asking ourselves questions in order to help challenge our thoughts.
STOP, take a breath, and ask yourself these questions which will help you defuse or distance yourself from your thoughts:
Learn about mindfulness
Print out this worksheet and complete it at least once daily
Print out these handouts and practice them as much and as often as you can
MP3 guided imagery/relaxation downloads for self-help