Changing Negative Thinking: The Thought Stopping Technique


Negative thoughts about ourselves are a plague among weight-worried women.  "You look awful stuffed into those jeans."  "You're really hopeless, you know." "You should have just stayed home."

Rather than being just in-the-moment downers, these kinds of thoughts have much more impact than we might think.  If we engage in them long enough, they begin to decrease our self esteem and can lead to feelings of hopelessness, doubt and discouragement.

But what to do when we've already developed the habit of thinking negatively about ourselves?  Our latest Fitbriefing reviews thought stopping, a simple technique that you can use many times a day to bring yourself back to a nurturing place. "The idea is putting yourself in charge of your thinking instead of having your thinking be in charge of you," says Darla Breckenridge, M.Ed and staff psychologist at Green Mountain at Fox Run. "It's a process of deciding where you want to put your energy."

How to Change Negative Thinking with the Thought Stopping Technique

It's a three-step process, says Breckenridge.

  1. When you catch yourself in a cycle of worry, yell really loudly in your head "STOP!" Then say to yourself: "It doesn't do me any good to think about this now."

For the rest of the steps, check out our FitBriefing "When Negative Thinking Gets in the Way of Weight Loss Success"  And for more on the subject, also check out our primers on identifying negative self talk and achieving weight loss success by changing negative self talk.

One response to “Changing Negative Thinking: The Thought Stopping Technique”

  1. […] talk a lot about all-or-nothing thinking and good-or-bad thinking on our blog because it’s a big deal. After so many years of […]

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About the Author

Marsha Hudnall, MS, RDN, CD

Marsha has been a guiding force at Green Mountain at Fox Run since 1986. In addition to overseeing a professional program that helps women establish sustainable approaches to healthy living, she is a respected thought leader when it comes to managing eating, emotions and weight. She has been a voice of reason for the last three decades in helping people move away from diets, an area in which she is personally as well as professionally versed. An accomplished writer and speaker, Marsha is the author of six books, including the online course Disordered Eating in Active and Sedentary Individuals (co-authored by Karin Kratina, PhD, RD, Human Kinetics), What You Need to Know about Carbohydrates (Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics [The Academy]), What You Need to Know about Vitamin and Mineral Supplements (The Academy), and The Pregnancy Cookbook (co-authored by Donna Shields, RD, Berkeley Publishing). She has worked extensively on a national basis to educate the public about nutrition and the impact of dieting on eating behaviors, including binge eating and emotional eating. Active in many organizations helping to further the cause of health and wellness, Marsha currently serves as vice chair of the Binge Eating Disorder Association and vice president of The Center for Mindful Eating and has been active in the Association for Size Diversity and Health in support of Health at Every Size(R) principles.

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