Who Thunked That Thought?
I’m reading an awesome book at the moment called The Happiness Trap by Dr Russ Harris, its mainly about ACT (acceptance and commitment therapy)
I wanted to talk about what he describes as Cognitive Fusion and Cognitive Defusion.
As Dr Harris describes it, ‘Cognitive fusion means that the thought and the thing it refers to – the story and the event – become blended. Thus, we react to words about a lemon as if a lemon is actually present; we react to words in a crime novel as if someone really is about to be murdered; we react to words like “Im useless” as if we actually are useless…….’
Research tells us that 80% of our thoughts are mostly negative.
We have alot of stories we tell ourselves chattering in our head all day, we have memories, fantasies, what’s wrong, what’s happening, what could happen, like a radio blaring in our heads all day.
With Cognitive Fusion we believe those thoughts as if they were fact.
The aim of Cognitive Defusion is to tell ourselves that alot of our thoughts are just mind chatter, not important and the trick is to only put energy into thoughts that help us. Defusion tells us that thoughts can be unimportant, are just words, don’t have any power, are not commands to be obeyed etc. Kind of like just having alot of junk in the attic.
One way to do this is to identify the story we are telling ourselves and say ‘I’m having the thought that……..‘ – I’m dumb, I’m too fat, they hate me etc. Or saying ‘Oh there’s that story I tell myself of…...’ being a victim, he doesn’t love me, I won’t succeed etc. It defuses the thought instead of fusing with it or fighting it. It takes one step back and it loses its power so you can think what you really want to think.
What I’ve always struggled with, with other techniques is that being a psychic I rely on my thoughts and images in my head, and for me to say that alot of what I’m thinking is garbage could make me doubt my abilities. But I realised that with Cognitive Defusion its my choice about what I take notice of, afterall I’m taking notice of what’s helpful. I tend to use this method when I catch myself with my usual self defeating thoughts that affect my behaviour.
So give it a go, see the change in energy and how your body relaxes after just one application.
What thought are you having?