3 Quick Diffusion Techniques for Managing Overwhelming Thoughts and Emotions

Do you often find yourself overwhelmed by intense thoughts, emotions, or sensations. If so, you're not alone. Many people struggle with managing these overwhelming experiences, which can lead to increased stress and decreased psychological flexibility. In this article, we'll walk you through three quick diffusion exercises that can help you lessen the impact of these experiences and become more psychologically flexible. By practicing these exercises, you'll be able to pull away from overwhelming thoughts and emotions more quickly, leading to reduced stress and increased resilience.

Exercise 1: Examining Your Typical Response

The first exercise involves bringing to mind the thought or emotion that you're currently dealing with and noticing how you typically react to it. Ask yourself if your typical response is problematic. Does it actually make the situation better, or does it just provide temporary relief. Reflect on whether your typical response eliminates the thought or emotion in the long term. It can be helpful to write down your observations in a journal, as this allows you to gain more clarity and self-awareness.

Exercise 2: Symbolizing the Experience

For the second exercise, you'll need a pillow. Take the thought or emotion that you're currently struggling with and imagine it as the pillow. Place the pillow on top of your head and notice how it feels. This physical representation can help you recognize how the thought or emotion is impacting your ability to engage and interact with the world. After some time, remove the pillow from your head and place it in front of you. The goal is not to escape or avoid the thought or emotion, but rather to let it be without letting it control you.

Exercise 3: Singing Your Thoughts

The third exercise involves using a song to diffuse from your thoughts. Choose a favorite song or melody and replace the lyrics with the thoughts that you find yourself stuck in. Sing these modified lyrics for at least 45 to 60 seconds. This exercise disrupts the usual seriousness of the thoughts and helps you see them as separate from yourself. You can also try using a silly voice or imagining your thought as a hand placed in front of your eyes to gain more distance from it.


By practicing these three diffusion techniques, you can develop greater psychological flexibility and resilience in the face of overwhelming thoughts and emotions. Remember to start with the exercise that feels most comfortable or, if you want to challenge yourself, the one that feels the most ridiculous. With consistent practice, you'll be able to navigate these experiences with more ease and reduce the impact they have on your well-being. Stay well.

Leave a Comment