“You are not your thoughts” is something that you’ll likely hear from a therapist who treats anxiety or their treatment is driven by Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). I am one of those therapists and I love this phrase. I also love the idea that we can be evaluative in how we regard our thoughts. This is also crucial when therapists teach to and encourage clients NOT to engage with challenging, uncomfortable, and intrusive thoughts.
So, when cultivating an evaluative perspective that encourages you not to engage, but rather, observe and accept these challenging, uncomfortable, and intrusive thoughts, where can you begin?
Have you considered using humor to evaluate these thoughts? Can you make fun of or laugh at your thoughts? (I don’t mean that in an invalidating, dismissive, “get over it” kind of way…) Consider the following excerpt from the article:
“First recognize that what you’re feeling might be an irrational anxiety. Now dig a bit deeper. What are the potentially laughable nuances of your anxiety? […] When you acknowledge your anxiety, and detach yourself from it (i.e., you are not your anxiety), you can then take note of the humor. In turn, you will feel a sense of control over your anguish. Find the humor, and you’ll feel the hope for a better state of mind. “
Facing your anxious thoughts can be overwhelming and intimidating. Why not find a way to make this process one where you can laugh, and (dare I say it) potentially fun?
The first time I saw a flameless cigarette lighter anywhere but a car was on an enclosed patio wall of the Oakland psychiatric facility where my therapist had sent me due to anxiety and depression. Smoking was the only vice afforded to us.