We make it a point to keep our readers’ questions confidential when they email us asking for advice. We answer them privately, and then usually share a general post on the topic they inquired about so that others can benefit as well. Lately, we have gotten multiple inquiries about a depression hack technique called thought-stopping.
Thought-stopping is literally stopping the thoughts that are running through your mind and focusing on something else. For example, say you have the annoying lyrics to a jingle stuck in your head like, “Nationwide is on your side.” Your inner voice keeps repeating it over and over until you want to scream! You don’t have to put up with that. All you have to do is consciously stop that thought from swirling around in your brain by choosing to think of something else. Yes, you are in control of what you want to think about. You can control that little voice in your head. You may not be able to control what random thoughts that little voice puts in there, but you can choose whether or not to keep listening to it.
Let’s face it, your inner voice can be your number one fan or your worst enemy. Sometimes it’s good to listen to it. It tells you to go for it . . .
- Ask that person out on a date.
- Get out there and dance like no one is watching.
- Don’t pay any mind to the mean things that person posted. You are a good person and you don’t deserve any of their shade.
- Ask your boss for a raise.
- You can do it!
Other times the voice is harmful to listen to. It tells you to go crawl under a rock . . .
- That person is way out of your league and will never go out with you.
- You will look like a fool if you get out on that dance floor.
- You must have done something wrong for that person to post mean things about you. Everyone is going to think you are a bad person.
- Your boss will never give you a raise. You are not worth it.
- You can’t do anything right!
YOU DO NOT HAVE TO LISTEN TO THAT VOICE! It has no control over you. You can choose whether to listen to it or not with the thought-stopping technique. Here’s how it works.
We first introduced this technique in our post via Depression Hack: Remove Clutter from Your Mind & Your Space | Wit and Wisdom 4 U In that post, and our post via Depression Hack: Thoughts Affect Feelings | Wit and Wisdom 4 U we spoke of the fact that you are in control of your own thoughts . . .
- A) Thoughts Affect Feelings
- B) You control your own thoughts
- C) Therefore, you control your feelings
Since it is clear that you YOU control your feelings, you CAN clear negativity (or annoying jingles) out of your mind.
Every second a negative thought enters your mind, use the thought-stopping technique and replace it with a word or phrase of your choice. Say the word aloud, or just think it. Just as the inner voice is repetitive, repeat your replacement word or phrase over and over until the thought you want to stop is gone. In essence, you are drowning out what the voice wants you to hear, by replacing it with what you want to hear.
We like to use the word “Evanesco” from Harry Potter’s vanishing spell, but you can use any word or phrase. Some of our readers use the actual words “thought and stopping,” or words and phrases like:
“I am replacing this thought”
“I shall not let this voice rule my mind”
“I choose to think positive”
“I am in control”
“Don’t worry. Be happy.”
One colleague of ours recites the Lord’s Prayer as her thought-stopper. She says the negative thoughts usually vanish after the first verse, but she has recited it as much as ten times in a row! Be persistent and always challenge what your inner voice is saying. Don’t let negative thoughts stay in your mind. Block them. Distract yourself with your chosen thought, and focus on what you choose to have running through your mind. Remember, YOU are in control.
We’d love to hear about it if you give this technique a try. We are always interested in what word or phrase works best for you. Stay in control. Stay happy.