MoHow Posted by Joel Simms Unwanted thoughts can make you feel anxious or depressed. They can keep you from enjoying your life. A technique called Thought-Stopping helps you change how you think so that you feel better. Learning the technique takes time and regular daily practice. It’s a skill that needs to be mastered in order stop unwanted thoughts quickly.
In Thought-Stopping, you focus on the unwanted thought and then use a technique to stop it. When you practice thought-stopping, the unwanted thought occurs less often. Over time, the thought will be easier to ignore or may not occur at all. In some cases, the thoughts may be worries. For example, you may worry a lot about your financial situation . Or you may think over and over about your health or the health of someone you love. Thought-stopping can help you deal with these thoughts.
Studies show that when you change what you think, you can change your mood. Thought-stopping is easy to learn, and it can help you feel better. Negative, unwanted thoughts can lead to anxiety or depression . They can keep you from sleeping well and can make it hard for you to work and enjoy your life. Thought-stopping also can help if you already feel anxious or depressed.
You can learn to do thought-stopping anywhere, so it can help you at work or at home. It’s also easy to learn. However, it takes practice.
To stop unwanted thoughts, you focus on the thought and then learn to say “Stop” to end the thought. At first, you will shout “Stop!” out loud. Then you will learn to say it in your mind so that you can use this technique anywhere.
Here’s how to get started:
1. List your most stressful thoughts. These are the thoughts that distract you from your daily activities and make you worry more. Write down your upsetting thoughts in order of the most stressful to the least stressful. Start practicing thought-stopping with the thought that is the least stressful. Here’s an example of a list, starting with the most stressful:
◦ I’m always worried that something bad will happen to me, even if I only have a cold.
◦ I know I’m not going to be able to pay my bills and then I’ll get evicted.
◦ I’m so nervous about my performance at work that I have a constant stomach ache.
2. Imagine the thought. Sit or lie down in a private place (so you can say “Stop!” out loud and not feel self-conscious). Close your eyes. Imagine a situation in which you might have this stressful thought. Then allow yourself to focus on the thought.
3. Stop the thought. Startling yourself is a good way to interrupt the thought. Try one of these two techniques:
◦ Set a timer, watch, or other alarm for 3 minutes. Then focus on your unwanted thought. When the timer or alarm goes off, shout “Stop!” If you want, stand up when you say “Stop.” Some people snap their fingers or clap their hands. These actions and saying “Stop” are cues to stop thinking. Empty your mind, and try to keep it empty for about 30 seconds. If the upsetting thought comes back during that time, shout “Stop!” again.
◦ Instead of using a timer, you can tape-record yourself shouting “Stop!” at intervals of 3 minutes, 2 minutes, and 1 minute. Do the thought-stopping exercise. Focus on the thought, and then stop thinking about the unwanted thought—or anything else—when you hear your recorded voice say “Stop.” Hearing your own voice telling you to stop helps strengthen your commitment to getting rid of the unwanted thought.
4. Practice steps 1 through 3 until the thought goes away on command. Then try the process again. This time, interrupt the thought by saying the word “Stop!” in a normal voice.
5. After your normal voice is able to stop the thought, try whispering “Stop.” Over time, you can just imagine hearing “Stop” inside your mind. At this point, you can stop the thought whenever and wherever it occurs.
6. Pick another thought that bothers you more than the last one, and continue thought-stopping.
Here’s an example of how thought-stopping might work:
Suppose you’re worried about a project you are responsible for at work. You’ve done the work. You know you’ve done it well. But you can’t stop worrying about it. You imagine that your boss will not find your work acceptable.
When you start to think of your bosses criticism, you say “Stop” quietly in your mind. You get up and move around, as you say “Stop.” Then you think of something pleasant to take your mind off the thought—such as how pleasant it was to be with your wife and family the past weekend.
This post provides you with fundamental information to develop these skills. If you want further help and coaching contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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