Thoughts And Ideas
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Thoughts And Ideas

Improving Our Thinking

So, through my readings and research, I recently stumbled upon, and began learning about something called Cognitive Defusion. I haven’t studied it to the extent that I have been learning about similar topics, but I have been happy to see that this too is something that I may find some great self help with.

Now, as always, I want to share the official, or textbook definition, and then going from there. Cognitive Defusion, (or CDef) is “a process where under certain circumstances we choose a different relationship with the stream of thought that flows through our heads.”

That may be the official definition, but I will tell you that I found an enormously large amount of information on the internet about this topic, and for some reason, it seems to differ a bit in definition, and what it is really for and what it does from google search to google search. I wouldn’t feel intimidated, when a hundred links pop up when searching. I would like to present it in our usual layman’s terms sort of way. I stopped all the extra searching around, and studied it my favorite way, by learning the basics, and encompassing it into my own real life.

When we see the part in the definition that says “choose different” that really points towards a lot.

For myself, what I have taken from Cognitive Defusion, is when I think about choosing a different relationship with my thoughts and thinking patterns, I try to move away from some of the more unhealthy parts of it.

Quickly, we can become able to see that we often go too much with self negativity, assuming the worst from the very start. Going overboard, exaggerating, and sticking towards more dark patterns, because we have built such a history of never being good enough for ourselves, that when things are good, we second guess it. We include all these outside influences, and who knows how many aren’t that clipped to the depth of reality. We wonder, what’s the catch? Washington Center on Cognitive Therapy is quoted as saying, “negative judgments become our reality.”

Now to take a few steps back from that quote, we can see that a lot of the negativity comes from a few things. First, from garnering a lack of mindfulness, we allow our thoughts and the setting around them to seemingly combine, and this is where mix ups can happen, and diffusion can be needed.

I think the combining of thought and emotions with the world and society around can be normal, and I think we all probably do it. Actually, I wouldn’t think it was totally normal for a person not to have any type of connecting of those things. We as humans (most of us) are saddened by sad things, angry at terrible things, and of course, happy at happy things. Even with the things that strangers are affected with. It doesn’t have to necessarily only pertain to our loved ones.

The big BUT is, we can have feelings like those for things we see or perceive as reality. However sometimes, it isn’t as much reality, as we realize at first glance. That is where mindfulness has its place with this.

Washington Center on Cognitive Therapy says- “Cognitive defusion says that we need to be more mindful, example- observing our thoughts rather than being swept up with them.”

If I was to take every single thought and feeling of mine to the extreme and with full assumption that it is total reality, life could be quite hectic or chaotic for me. There are many things that that we may feel that after quick second thoughts we should be able to see that they just don’t carry the strength and depth of what reality is. I think it may even be safe to say that a lot of our daily thinking may see many one dimensional thoughts, ideas, and feelings. That isn’t an irrational assumption either.

We may have those type of things going on in our brains that are not as major as sadness from a divorce, death, major injury of us or our loved ones etc. etc. Those would never categorize as one dimensional. They are totally opposite that.

One dimensional might be that jerk off that just cut you off on the road, affecting less than 5 seconds of your life. Emotions from movies we see are another example. There are plenty of unreal, superficial, and minor things that should not continuously rent space in our heads. Thoughts from those type of annoyances should not dictate the language speaking to us inside.

This is where the duty of cognitive defusion comes into play. It should be an ability that can be performed to sometimes instinctive levels. It’s keeping our emotions and feelings in reality. And having a good basis for what is really outside of the reality realm, and in what ways can we avoid stress about things that just are not much a part of life. Sometimes a second glance may be needed. But that’s the jist of it.

It’s about not allowing our actual behaviours to get so extremely caught up, and be controlled by our thoughts and thinking. Sometimes our thoughts on things, should not be taken as if they are really talking to us specifically. Let our experiences, what we feel and what we sense, move the language that’s inside us speaking.



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Michael Patanella

Michael Patanella

Author, Publisher, and Editor. I cover mindfulness, mental health, addiction, sobriety, life, and spirituality among other things.