Changing Negative Thinking: The Thought Stopping Technique

By Marsha Hudnall on 06/07/2010
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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.

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