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Practice Thought Stopping

If you are anxious, depressed, or emotionally down, practice thought stopping.

It’s one of those recognized psychological first-aid how-tos that can be useful in multiple situations.

practice thought-stopping

For instance, my client Riza always breaks down whenever her mother shouts at and verbally abuses her. 

Her confessed self-talk has always been “I’m no good! No one accepts and understands me. I feel like disappearing!” while drowning in her tears.

Thought-stopping helps her as she practices it. It interrupts thoughts about her self that creates emotional turmoil in her mind.

To practice thought stopping, here is how it goes:

First, focus on the very thought that produces anxiety (or self pity or anger or depression) for you.

Then, after 15 to 30 seconds, shout “STOP!” or make some repetitive loud noise. Maybe you need a type of noise or a timer.

Whatever, the action intercepts and interrupts your thoughts as well as the emotions associated with them.

After practicing this several times and you’ve become more mindful, tone down your shout or simply invent some sign as your signal to stop.

Obviously, thought stopping by itself does not instantly eliminate the self-lies or troubled emotions you have.

That’s because you’ve to replace those thoughts with truths or healing images which is your next how-to.

But the thought stopping as a first step can at least help you stop the “attacks” for a period of time. It reduces your emotional wear and tear.

“While we need to give ourselves permission to feel what we feel, at the same time we must be honest enough to examine whether or not the feeling fits what has happened to us. Neither ‘stuffing” nor ‘spewing’ what we feel usually helps. The middle ground is to accept what we feel and express it in ways that help us move on.”

– Dr. Chris Thurman

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Online psychotherapy