Defusing repeated thoughts.

Has something nasty happened and you just can’t seem to get rid of those thoughts? Maybe, we are worried and anxious about a future event. Or maybe it’s a negative comment that someone said. Or a situation that happened and bad thoughts about our self keeps replaying in our head.

Such thoughts are called ruminations and we may find it hard to get rid of them.

Cognitive defusion is one way to tune down the volume of such thoughts in our headspace so that it will interfere too much with our lives and what we need to do.


Defusing repeating thoughts means:

  • Realising that ‘You are not your thoughts’.
  • Notice that you are having these thoughts and don’t react to it.
  • Allowing the thoughts to come and go and not hold on to it.

Here’s what you can do with these nagging thoughts.

  • Reduce the intensity of the thoughts

E.g “My teacher hates me” Instead say “My teacher is not pleased with me”


  • Detach yourself from the thoughts

Create a story about that thought and give it a title

E.g ‘A story of the boy who thought his teacher didn’t like him.”


  • Change the focus of the sentence.

Type it out and change the font and the colour of a word in that sentence where you can change the meaning of the sentence.

e.g  The boy who (thought) his teacher didn’t like him.

There is no proof of a thought unless there is evidence. Thoughts can be changed.


  • Put on headphones

Imagine you are in a canteen and other students are saying to themselves that the teacher hates them. Put on headphones and keep doing what you are doing without getting distracted by those words.


  • Press the delete button on those thoughts in your head.


  • Ignore those thoughts

Treat those nagging thoughts like hard selling salesman and tell them that you are not interested.


Here’s a checklist on diffusing ruminating thoughts. Save this and use it to get rid of those nagging thoughts.




Here are more tips to manage your headspace:

How to manage negative thoughts


How to recognise  problematic thinking that don’t serve you.


Am I depressed? 


What is Anxiety disorder?


What is OCD – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder


Suicidal thoughts 

If you have thoughts of ending your life, please get help immediately. Please please remember that nobody wants to die. We all want to find a way out of our problems. There are people who can help.

Feeling the feels all the time? Find out what type of help you need


Helplines in Singapore



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