DON'T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU THINK!
Defusion involves distancing, disconnecting or
seeing thoughts and feelings for what they are (streams of words, passing
sensations), not what they say they are (dangers or facts).
Notice what you don't normally notice - sights, sounds, sensations, thoughts, textures etc.
You can be in the driving seat, whilst all
passengers (thoughts) are noisily chattering, being critical or shouting out
directions. You can allow them to shout, but you can keep your attention focused
on the road ahead.
The playground is fenced in and the children have to learn to live with the bully. This bully uses threats, mocking and abusive words to upset his victims. We can't stop our thoughts, but perhaps we can react to them in a different way, as these victims show us.
Victim 2 - challenges the bully, and bully eventually gives up on this victim.
Victim 3 - acknowledges then ignores the bully,
changing focus of attention, and the bully soon gives up.
Items floating down the river - perhaps leaves
or bits of mucky debris (thoughts, feelings, images) - instead of struggling to
stay afloat, we can stand on the bank watching our thoughts, images and
sensations go by
Standing on the station platform, sometimes we are advised to stand back as an express train will be passing through at speed. We hear and feel it approaching, thundering through as it buffets us with a strong blast of wind. We don’t attempt to jump on the express train and let it take us to destinations we don’t want to go to.
Whatever the weather, or whatever happens on the surface of the mountain, and even within it - the mountain stands firm, mostly unaffected. Strong, grounded, permanent. We can be like that mountain, observing thoughts, feelings and sensations, and yet know inner stillness.
We cannot control the weather, so we have to learn to adapt to it. We can put a coat on for instance, but we cannot stop the wind or rain, and it would be foolish to try. Regardless of what we do, the storm will pass.
Our thoughts and feelings are like the weather, they come and they go. We cannot control or stop them, but we can learn to react to them differently. If we give up the futile struggle to try and stop or control it, the storm of thoughts and feelings will pass.
When we visit an online store, we tend to know what we are looking for. We know our budget, the item we want, the colour, the size, how quickly we need it, and so on. There may be hundreds of items advertised on the page, but we do not put every item we see into our shopping basket and buy them all. That would be crazy.
However, we do tend to buy into each thought in our mind’s online shop front, especially those thoughts that fit with the thinking habits we’ve got into. If only we could treat them the same way as the online store! Do I need to buy this thought, right now? Can I afford it? Is it going to be helpful? Is it really true?
When we feel emotional, we can feel overwhelmed and our thinking brain (the pre-frontal cortex) goes offline – just like our computer does sometimes when it tries to do too many processes at once. To get our computers working again, we can either wait, or we can reset it.
We can use our mind’s reset mechanism by telling ourselves to STOPP and breathe – a little slower, in through the nose, out through the mouth. In thinking about our breathing, we have shifted our focus of attention and the emotional thoughts fade a little into the background. In taking slower deeper breaths, we are calming our physical sensations of emotion. This reduces the emotion enough to allow our thinking brain to come back online, enabling us to make more rational responses.
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