Separate the Thought from the Thinker

Do you get stuck in your thoughts, even when (or maybe, especially when) they aren’t helpful? We all do. There is even a name for it – Cognitive Fusion. Well, in this episode, we are going to learn how to defuse ourselves from those thoughts that threaten to undo our hard work, make us feel unworthy or sad, and hold us back from reaching our goals.

Take Aways  

  • Instead of trying to eliminate a thought or fighting with the thought, the goal of cognitive defusion is to see the thought as merely a thought.
  • A big step in mastering this process is learning to separate the Thought from the Thinker.
  • You can have thoughts without buying them.
  • Even if you have had a thought a hundred (or thousand) times before – you are not your thoughts. You are so much more powerful than they are. 

Lab Experiment  

For the next 60 seconds, write down or say out loud all of the thoughts that run through your mind. 

Now try listing your thoughts again for 60 seconds, but this time add that phrase “I notice that I’m having the thought that…” So for example, “I notice that I’m having the thought that this is silly.” 

Next, open up your awareness to what other thoughts you’re having. Are you having thoughts about work? Are you thinking “wow, 60 seconds is a long time!” Notice those other thoughts running through your mind. Notice them and notice yourself noticing them.

And you know what? You just practiced cognitive defusion! Looking at your thoughts instead of through your thoughts.