Challenging our thoughts only gets us so far sometimes. If your unhelpful thoughts keep coming back, it can be more useful to simply drop the battle with them. This approach is based on the idea that you can gain distance from thoughts, without engaging with them. Rather than holding on to your thoughts tightly, you simply let them come and go as they please. You can learn to see your thoughts for what they are, just words and images passing through your mind.
When we detach from our thoughts, we learn to see that they are not necessarily true and they do not have to control our actions. We actually have a choice about whether we pay attention to them. You can think of your thoughts like clouds drifting across the sky or leaves floating down a stream. We can watch them come and go. Another simple technique is to observe what your mind is telling you and label it as a thought.
For example, instead of saying “I must always be perfect”, you can say “I’m having the thought that I must always be perfect” or “My mind is telling me that I must always be perfect”. You can take this a step further and thank your mind for its input. For example, “I’m having the thought that I’m a loser, thanks mind!”. This helps you to recognise that your thoughts are just chatter in your mind (often distorted chatter!).