Create Distance From Self-defeating Thoughts

It’s not alway beneficial to ignore, bypass, or challenge our self-defeating thoughts. There are times when create distance from them can allow access to other insights. With distance, we welcome in greater awareness to other possibilities. We learn to notice the difference between perceptions - our beliefs - and the facts. Below are some examples of creating distance.

Examples Of Creating Distance

know your mind

Going back to the list of thinking patterns, identify the ones your mind falls back into, it’s default. See if you can identify patterns not on the list.

Are these habitual thoughts?

Ask yourself what thinking patterns you default to in challenging or uncomfortable times. Example: When times are tough, do you expect the worst.

Practicing Mindfulness of thought

Begin developing the practice of noticing your mind and the patterns that arise. Observe them like you would watch passing clouds or cars without judgment.

Give thanks to your mind

When you notice thinking patterns begin to emerge, thank your mind for doing what it’s designed to do - protect you from threats actual danger. The idea is to acknowledge the purpose of your thinking. Which is to protect you from actual danger.

Acknowledge your thinking patterns

When a thinking pattern like should statements show up, notice it and name it. Example: I am noticing my thoughts of how something should be.

Externalize a thought

Write a thought down and view it from a distance, maybe even carry it around with you like a passengers on a train. Thoughts are simply along for the ride.

Be the skeptic

Treat your thoughts like non-factual thoughts. If not based on fact, they’re only assumptions.

Examine their function

What is this thought REALLY here to serve?


Overestimating your influence on negative events; taking things personally. Example: When your partner is unhappy, you feel like it’s all your fault.

Stop fighting your thoughts

That which we resist, persists. Denial and resistance actually feed them and give them energy. Simply notice and acknowledge.