Thoughts Are Not Facts: How to Create Distance Between You and Your Thoughts
One of the most important things to understand is that you are NOT your thoughts. Do not take your thoughts personally or view them as absolute truths. Use these techniques below to start creating distance between you and your thoughts.
Clouds in the sky
In Marsha Linehan's DBT® Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets, Second Edition, she explores thoughts as clouds through many mindfulness exercises. Think of your thoughts as clouds- some might float by while others catch our attention. Assign one thought per cloud. Remember, you have the power to choose what clouds you'd like to observe and which ones you'd like to see pass by.
Time to ReFrame
Thoughts, like glasses, can shape how you view the world. Don't feel like the current lens is serving you? Visualize removing the glasses from your face and replacing them with a pair you think you'd like to see the world with.
I'm Having a Thought That
Create space between you and your thoughts by adding "I'm having a thought that" in front. For example, let's say we've been studying for an exam, but our thoughts are flooding us with nothing but messages of failure. We might say, "I'm going to fail" or "I'm stupid." Create space by adding, "I'm having a thought that I am going to fail," or "I'm having a thought that I'm stupid." This statement removes ownership from the thought (you are certainly NOT stupid) and creates space. Try this out the next time you find yourself buying into negative thinking patterns.
Say it sloooooowly
Have you ever said a word so many times that it starts to sound (and feel) like it is made up? Try the same technique when it comes to negative thinking patterns. By stretching out the thought by saying it out loud and slow, the power of the thought begins to decrease.