As we often talk about at The Depression Project, when you think a negative thought like "I'm a failure", "I'm a burden", "I'm stupid", "I'm broken", "I'm a bad person" and many, many others, it's extremely common to latch onto it, believe it to be true, and for it to consequently fuel negative emotions such as misery, shame and hopelessness, for example. And, if you can relate, then a valuable strategy to add to your arsenal to help you deal with negative thoughts is a technique known as thought defusion.
What Is Thought Defusion, And How Can I Practice It To Help Me Cope With Negative Thoughts?
Thought defusion is a mindfulness technique which is also popular in dialectical behaviour therapy1, and one that you can use to help prevent yourself from buying into your negative thoughts.
For this strategy, start by closing your eyes, taking a few deep breaths, and then, try to imagine your negative thoughts as something that’s harmlessly drifting away from you. For example:
- Imagine that each of your negative thoughts are a balloon, floating away in the sky.
- Imagine that you’re standing at the top of a hill or a sloping street, and that your negative thoughts are tennis balls rolling down it.
- Imagine that you’re at the beach, and that your negative thoughts are birds flying by in the distance.
- Imagine yourself sitting on a street-side bench, and that your negative thoughts are cars passing by in front of you.
If you prefer another form of imagery that captures your thoughts coming and going like so, then of course, you’re most welcome to use that. Either way, just visualise your negative thoughts as being outside of your head, floating away, rolling away, passing you by, etcetera, without trying to analyse them, without trying to judge them, without trying to suppress them, without trying to overthink them and without trying to buy into them.
We hope you find this thought defusion strategy useful, and that moving forwards, it can help you to cope with your negative thoughts ❤️
All our love,
The Depression Project Team.