Thoughts aren’t Facts
Thoughts aren’t facts (I think?)
Some of you, like myself, will painfully remember a song out a few years ago by the squeaky- voiced comedian Joe Pasquale called “I know a song that’ll get on your nerves”, where he just repeatedly sang over and over the title of the song until, quite frankly, it got on your nerves. That would have been bad enough but what happened then was you couldn’t get the song out of your mind no matter how hard you tried.
This is a great example of what our untamed thoughts can do to us.
Out of the approximately 60,000 thoughts we have a day, it’s the negative ones we tend to listen to the most….and one negative thought can soon become a big problem if we don’t deal with it effectively.
When the mind thinks there is something we should be concerned about, a thought pops into our awareness, “What if….?” and we often can’t get rid of it. So we then give it more attention, fantasising how that scenario would play out until the body believes it is happening now and goes into full-scale panic.
So what’s the answer?
Well, we can’t just stop having negative thoughts; for one, the brain is just trying to help and keep us alive, that’s it’s job, and two, it is virtually impossible ‘not’ to think a negative thought – it’s like trying to hold an inflated beach ball under the water…it’s going to pop up eventually.
What we can do is recognise that it is just a thought, nothing more, so we don’t have to believe what it’s telling us. We do this by using a simple method called Defusion.
When we are ‘Fused’ with a thought our whole being sees and feels the thought as a fact.
For example: “What if I fail?” might lead to a fantasy of seeing yourself failing, leading to a feeling of worthlessness and fear and a behaviour of avoiding the situation altogether.
By ‘defusing’ we would say to ourselves, “I’m noticing that I’m having a thought…“What if I fail?” This stops the mind and body from believing the thought, preventing worry, nervous physical symptoms and avoidance of the situation.
Another strategy would be to ask yourself, “How helpful is this thought to me right now?” If it’s helpful you can act on it, if it’s not you can choose to ignore it.