top of page


Take a second and step back from your thoughts!


Cognitive Defusion



Pragmatic Ninja

The mind can be like a salesman. Consider a thought you have. What do you get if you “buy” into that thought - where does it leave you, and does it bring you closer to your goals and values? For example, consider the thought: "I do not deserve to recover." Is "buying" this thought a good investment? Does buying into it take you where you want to go in your life? 


Watch Your Thinking

Defusion is stepping back from thoughts instead of being pushed around by them. Notice what your mind is telling you right now. 


Kiss Your Thought Goodbye

When you notice a difficult or painful thought, say the following out loud: “I notice that I am having the thought that (say the thought)," and choose your next action based on your values - not what your mind says.   


Leaves on a Stream

Picture a stream with leaves floating along gently. As thoughts come into your mind, imagine each of them written upon a leaf and passing along with the current. Some thoughts might be hung up for a bit, and that's OK. Allow them to be there as part of the landscape; and if they will, allow them to loosen and drift by.  

intrusive thoughts about self harm.jpg

The "Name That Story" Game

When you notice certain thoughts that show up often, you can start to “name that story”.  Each time this story shows up, name it: “Aha, there’s the XYZ story again!” For example, there’s the “I am not good enough story again”


You or Your Mind?

Your Mind tries to convince you that it is the expert, but You are the expert of your experience and what works. Is Your Mind trying to convince you of something that is not helpful? If so, ask yourself - who knows better - me or my mind?


Is it Workable?

When Your Mind gives you thoughts, You have a choice of whether to listen to them or not. Write down your thoughts and ask yourself "Is it workable to follow the advice these thoughts give me? Does it take me closer to the life that I want or further away?"


I'm having the thought that...

We can get all caught up or entangled in our thoughts. This is most likely to happen when their content is upsetting. Don't forget that thoughts are simply internal experiences that we can notice. Remind yourself of this by repeating: "I notice that I am having the thought [say your thought]" 5 times.


Name the Story

Our minds like to create stories. Stories about our past, our future, who we are, etc. What story is Your Mind telling You now? Is it the "I'll never change story," for example? See if you can notice the story without getting caught up in the plot. Tell yourself: "Aha, here comes the XYZ story. I know that one!" And then choose actions based on your values.



Practice observing thoughts as thoughts (mental activity) and then ask yourself, "does listening to this thought take me where I want to go?" 


Thoughts on Parade

Imagine that you are watching all of the thoughts you have right now marching by on parade floats and flags. Rather than joining the parade, practice being an observer and watching the parade go by.


Thoughts Are Like Bullies

Sometimes our thoughts try to push us around; Tell us what to do. See if in this moment You can choose, instead of being pushed around by your thoughts. 



Sometimes we can get hooked by a thought or a feeling. It grabs us by the gut and starts to pull us around… just like a fish on a hook. If you have taken the bait, see if you can unhook and get back on your values. 


Mind as Problem Solver

Our minds were built to solve problems, make judgements, evaluate situations, and keep us safe. That is the job of the mind, even if it's not always helpful! Take a moment to notice what Your Mind is doing right now--is it problem solving, comparing, predicting what will happen? Is this helpful to You, or is it stopping You from taking action on your values?


Thoughts As Music

Imagine your thoughts are a song: notice and describe the tempo, the volume, the music genre. See if you can let them play in the background while you use your values as your guide. 


Funny Voice

Choose a fictional character (e.g., Donald Duck) and say your thoughts out loud using that character's voice. Thoughts want to be taken seriously, but see if you can be playful with them. 


Choosing Compassion

Sometimes we make choices that are in line with our values and sometimes we don't (how human of us!). It's easy to get stuck and "beat ourselves up" for past choices. Practice letting go of this war against your humanness and choose compassion instead--treat yourself as you would treat someone you care about deeply (even if your mind gives you different advice). 

bottom of page