What can we do about unhelpful thoughts?

It feels natural that when you have an unpleasant, unhelpful, difficult, or negative thought, we often want to simply get rid of them or push them away. It can also be easy to buy into these thoughts and see them as a reality. However, these ways of dealing with difficult thoughts come at a cost. When the strategy does work, the battle does not end there, as there are more difficult thoughts that can come up in the future. This means that you have to keep struggling with these thoughts, and this can quickly become exhausting. At other times the same thoughts may simply come back no matter how hard you try to push it away or resolve it.

An alternative for dealing with these thoughts is a technique called defusion that comes from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Put simply, this means ‘unhooking’ from your thoughts and creating some distance or space from them, reminding yourself that they are just that…thoughts. This also means you can free up energy from the struggle with thoughts, and use that energy for something more helpful or important to you.