Unwanted thoughts can make you feel anxious or depressed. They may keep you from enjoying your life.
A technique called thought-stopping can help you stop unwanted thoughts.
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:
You can change how you do thought-stopping:
This new image or idea is not the same thing as replacing a negative thought with a helpful thought that is related to it. For more information on that method, see the topic Stop Negative Thoughts: Choosing a Healthier Way of Thinking.
Here's an example of how thought-stopping might work:
You're worried about a presentation you are giving at work later in the day. You're prepared. You know you're ready. But you can't stop worrying about it. You imagine making a mistake.
When you start to think of yourself stumbling over words, you say "Stop" quietly in your mind. You get up and move around, or you snap your rubber band as you say "Stop." Then you think of something pleasant to take your mind off the thought—such as a trip you are planning to take or a movie you saw recently that made you laugh.
Current as of:
February 9, 2022
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Catherine D. Serio PhD - Behavioral HealthKathleen Romito MD - Family MedicineChristine R. Maldonado PhD - Behavioral Health
Current as of: February 9, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Catherine D. Serio PhD - Behavioral Health & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Christine R. Maldonado PhD - Behavioral Health
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2022 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.