Cognitive Defusion and Letting Go of Thoughts

In a previous post we looked at some ways to practice letting go of thoughts, but it can often be difficult to let of thoughts because they have such a powerful pull, especially when the thoughts are related to a strong emotion.

In this post we’re going to look at some things you can do to get some separation from your thoughts when your emotions are particularly strong and you’re having some thoughts you’re finding hard to let go.

Steven Hayes, who developed Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), coined the term “cognitive fusion” to describe times when we are so tightly stuck to our thoughts, we become “fused” to them. When we’re experiencing cognitive fusion, we can’t separate ourselves from our thoughts. Our thoughts become our reality. We feel removed from the world outside of our thoughts, removed from our senses, from what we’re doing, and even from the people around us.

Read More



Letting Go of Thoughts Mindfully

racing thoughtsIt’s easy to get swept away by our thoughts, especially in the face of strong emotions. We get stuck ruminating and dwelling about the past, filled with guilt or regret. Or our minds start racing and we can’t stop worrying about the future and imagining all the things that could go wrong. Or we replay conversations over and over again in our heads, trying to make sense of them or figure out what we could have said differently.

When our minds get going like this, not only is it exhausting; these patterns of thinking tend to make us feel bad, intensifying the emotions we’re already feeling and generating additional negative emotions as well. Because this experience is so unpleasant, it’s natural to want to these thoughts to stop, and to be able to prevent yourself from even having them in the first place. We often wind up trying to make these thoughts go away, and shut them out completely and make sure they don’t come back. But just like we can’t control our emotions or suppress our emotions, neither can we control or suppress our thoughts.

Read More



Guided Mindfulness Meditation MP3s and Breathing Exercises

Below you’ll find a number of guided MP3 files of mindfulness meditations and breathing exercises. You can play them from this page, or right-click on the download link and select “Save Link As …” to save them to your computer, phone or tablet.

Mindful Breathing Meditation: A mindful breathing meditation used in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). The entire meditation is 30-minutes in length, but a bell sounds at 10, 15, 20 and 25 minutes, so you can use this MP3 for meditations of different durations to suit your needs. [download]

 

Read More



Give Yourself a Mindful Break From Stress, Anxiety and Depression

breathing spaceIn a couple of recent posts, we looked at some things you can do to help stop stress and anxiety from becoming overwhelming, and to give yourself a breathing time out from stress, anxiety and depression. In this post, we’ll look at a couple more techniques you can use to manage stress and anxiety, and to help your emotions from becoming overwhelming if you’re experiencing depression or anger.

The first is called the Three Minute Breathing Space, and it was developed as part of the Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy program for people with depression. Like the Breathing Time Out, it’s a way to bring your attention to the present, give yourself a break from whatever stress or emotions have been building up, and then return to the rest of your day, more refreshed and focused on the present.

Read More



What are the Benefits of Mindfulness?

zen meditationThe benefits you can experience from learning to become more mindful are virtually limitless. Mindfulness allows you to relate to and deal directly with whatever is happening in your life. Instead of struggling to escape, suppress or avoid distressing thoughts and feelings, mindfulness helps you approach whatever is going on in your life, in your thoughts, and with your emotions, without becoming overwhelmed.

When you start being more mindful and start living in the present moment, you’ll experience your life more fully, and become more in touch with yourself, who you are, what is important to you, and what you want out of life.

Read More



Mindfulness, Depression and Anxiety

The Mental Health Foundation in the UK has developed a Be Mindful webpage that is an excellent resource for information about the benefits of mindfulness. The following quote is from their webpage:

How you handle the way you feel plays a big part your mental health. In difficult times, it is not unusual to focus solely on negative thoughts and feelings and become consumed by them.

Mindfulness helps you change the way they think, feel and act. It helps you to break free from a downward spiral of negative thought and action, and make positive choices that support your wellbeing.

Mindfulness can help with recurrent depression, anxiety and panic, and other issues including stress, self-esteem and chronic pain.

Read More



More on Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)

zen meditation
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is an approach to therapy based on the mindfulness-based stress reduction program (MBSR) developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn. MBCT adapts MBSR to treat depression by incorporating aspect of cognitive therapy into mindfulness and mindfulness meditation. MBCT is also helpful in helping deal with anxiety and panic.

Read More



Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)

mindfulnessMindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is a relatively recent type of therapy that combines aspects of cognitive therapy with the mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program created by Jon Kabat-Zinn. MBCT was developed to help people struggling with depression, and it is also helpful in treating anxiety and low self-esteem.

Read More