Tony Robbins on How to Break Your Negative Thinking
How to Stop Thinking of Something or Someone
You can't get an embarrassing moment or a cute barista off of your mind. These kinds of thoughts are common, but if they're proving to be too distracting, there are steps you can take to rid yourself of unwanted thoughts. Start by putting your full attention on this article.
Engaging in Thought Stopping
Write your thought(s) down.Your thoughts are distracting you from your daily activities and causing you unhappiness, anxiety or worry, so the first thing you must do is put them on paper. Write down all your upsetting thoughts in order of the most stressful to the least stressful.
- For example, if you keep thinking you might lose your job, your list could look something like this: 1. How will I be able to pay my bills and take care of my child? 2. What if I can't find a new job? 3. I'll be so embarrassed if I'm escorted by security out of the office with my belongings in a box.
- You're going to begin your practice with the least-stressful thought.
Imagine the thought.Sit or lie down in a private place. Close your eyes. Imagine a situation in which you might have this stressful thought.
Stop the thought.Set a timer, watch or other alarm for three minutes. Then focus on your unwanted thought. When the timer or alarm goes off, shout "Stop!" That's your cue to empty your mind of that thought. Think of one intentional thought (the beach, etc.) and keep your mind fixed on that image or thought for 30 seconds. If the upsetting thought comes back during that time, shout "Stop!" again. Practicing meditation or yoga may help calm and clear your mind.
- You can stand up when you say "Stop" if you'd like or snap your fingers or clap your hands. These actions reinforce the "Stop" command and further interrupt your thought.
- Instead of using a timer, you can tape-record yourself shouting "Stop!" at one-, two- and three-minute intervals and use the recording to do the thought-stopping exercise. When you hear your recorded voice say "Stop," empty your mind for 30 seconds.
Practice.Repeat this exercise until the thought goes away on command. Then try the exercise again and interrupt the thought by saying "Stop" in a normal voice rather than a shout. Once your normal voice is able to stop the thought, try whispering "Stop." Over time, you can just imagine hearing "Stop" inside your mind. At this point, you should be able to stop the thought whenever and wherever it occurs. Once you've achieved that level of control, choose the next thought on your list and continue thought-stopping.
- This method will not stop unwanted thoughts immediately. What it does do is help "put brakes" on these thoughts and gradually lessen the hold they have over you.
- In this practice, there also has to be acceptance that these thoughts are here at present and to tolerate them. Thoughts can be very distracting, distressing, and when a person feels out of control about it, it is all the worse. But accepting the fact they are there, present, and to be less reactive about it actually helps them go away.
Get active.Engaging in a sport that requires you to focus on your body and/or eye-hand coordination is a good way to clear your head. Plus, exercise brings the added benefit of producing the brain's feel-good neurotransmitters, endorphins, which will improve your mood.
Do something mentally strenuous.Challenge yourself mentally by completing a Sudoku or crossword puzzle, solving complicated math problems or following a complex set of instructions to complete a project. The mental focus it will take to do these kinds of activities will leave you with no time or mental energy to think your unwanted thoughts.
Laugh.Laughter can take your mind off worries. When we laugh, our brain is engaged--it's instructing our body to make a series of gestures and sound. Laughing helps reduce stress, so if your recurring thoughts are causing you anxiety, laughter really is good medicine. Hang out with friends who simply crack you up, rent a funny movie or try a laughter yoga class. You can even find therapists who specialize in "laughter therapy," which teaches people how to openly laugh at things that aren't usually funny and to use humor to cope with difficult situations.
Using Your Brain
Practice acceptance.If you've tried just not thinking about someone or something, you know it's not really possible--if it were that easy, you wouldn't be reading this article. In fact, research has found that it is better to accept your unwanted thoughts rather than to push them away. In one study, participants who practiced acceptance were less obsessive, had lower levels of depression and were less anxious than those who tried thought suppression.
- Accepting your thoughts, does not mean you have to like them or even agree with your thoughts. You simply have to accept them as part of your current reality. Allow them to exist and make no effort to try to control or change them. By doing so, you take away their power, and they begin to occur less frequently.
Use focused distraction.You may have already tried distracting yourself to get the thoughts you want to avoid out of your head, but have you tried focused distraction? Studies suggest it is better to distract yourself with just one thing rather than jumping from one thing to another trying to divert your attention from unwanted thoughts. Aimless mind-wandering is associated with unhappiness, so choose a specific task, book or piece of music to concentrate on and give it your full attention.
Throw them out.In a study published in the journalPsychological Science,researchers found that when people wrote down their thoughts on a piece of paper and then threw the paper away, they mentally discarded the thoughts as well. Some counselors might instead recommend a worry jar where you can place these thoughts.
Check for a lesson.If you are having obsessive thoughts, try treating the situation as a lesson. Ask yourself what the lesson is and what you can learn from your mistake. Try summing it up in just one sentence or less and write it down.
Give it time.When a situation or person has a big impact in life, it often takes time to truly process it. This can be especially true if you have never experienced a situation before, such as finding out someone cheated on you, witnessing a death, or being in a car accident. Going over and over this in your mind is a natural way to process it. And each person is different--needing time to come to terms with something does not mean you are weak or lacking than someone who does not.
QuestionI get emotional while listening to slow and romantic songs. What should I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThe people who write these songs would be so happy to learn that the songs have had the desired effect! There is nothing wrong being emotional about such songs, as that is why they are written, sung and performed. You are responding naturally. If you want to snap out of these feelings, listen to a more upbeat song or watch something funny.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I stop thinking about stuff to go to sleep?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTake deep breaths. Focus only on your breathing and count every breath. Eventually, you will become very tired and fall asleep without thinking about it.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I stop thinking about a lover who betrayed me?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerUntil you forgive and let go, you can't completely stop thinking about this person. Betrayal hurts but it cannot be the cause of you continuing to feel deep anger and resentment that ruins your life. Find it in your heart to forgive the person. This does not the excuse the reprehensible act but it frees you to let go of this person and find someone who is trustworthy and above reproach, a person who will care for you and not hurt you. If you're bitter and still going over what happened to you, it will be hard to find such a caring person.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I stop thinking about someone that I really miss?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt's good to know you still think about them; it means that you still care. A good cry once and a while keeps you clear in mind. Writing down your feelings is wonderful way to feel better as well. Getting busy, or even listening to music in bed, keeps you from thinking about them too.Thanks!
QuestionCan you help me stop thinking about a former bedbug problem that I cannot move on from?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou say that it is "former", which indicates you've successfully conquered the problem. That is a great thing and shows you can cope. Remind yourself that it happened and that it is over now. The future is free of the bedbugs and you are now the wiser for how to keep it that way.Thanks!
QuestionWhat to do when you think you are going nowhere in your career - even when you have a job but not up to your standards?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerRemember that you are not helpless and can do a lot to change the course of your career if you work hard and have patience. If you're stuck in a dead-end job, you can 1) talk to a supervisor, express your desire for more challenge and responsibility in your career, and ask how you could make it happen, 2) if it's truly hopeless, look for another job. Another company in the same field might have more advancement opportunities (or whatever you're looking for) than your current company. Do your research. Apply to jobs, and remember you may have to apply to hundreds before you land something. If your career field is dissatisfying to you in general, think about changing careers. If that requires some specific additional education, work on getting some, e.g., take part-time, evening classes. If not, try to find a job, at first, that combines some of the skills from your previous jobs with your current interests. Or do some volunteering/interning at a place you'd be interested in working at.Thanks!
QuestionThere's a girl I'm trying to forget. Not because something happened. Because nothing will ever happen between us! What can I do to stop thinking about her?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerMake new friends. Engage your brain in doing other things, from puzzles to adrenaline rush experiences. Focus on things you need to improve in yourself, including unrealistic desires. Get out there and live large.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I focus on my studies and not get distracted in class?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerDon't talk to friends during class. Raise your hand and ask/answer questions during class. If you do this, you will ensure that you are focused on the lecture/class material. If a friend tries to talk to you, tell them that you're trying to listen and you'll talk to them after class.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I stop being homesick?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThink about all the fun things you're doing on your trip. Try calling a family member or friend for support.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I stop thinking about stuttering?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerImagine yourself talking normally in a confident way and tell yourself that you're getting nervous and to just relax.Thanks!
- Do not think "I've got stop thinking about ______" or "I can't think about _____"as it will just make you think about that person or thing more.
- Don't expect fast results.It's likely that even after trying all this out that unwanted thoughts of the person or situation will still pop into your mind from time to time. Accept this as being a natural part of your goal to begin moving on, be patient with yourself, and keep going with the knowledge that eventually this person or situation will fade from your mind with time.
- If you do think about it, try to start up a conversation with someone. That way you will focus on what the person is saying and not the bad situation.
- If you see them daily, imagine them in your mind as a different person.
- Drink water.
Sources and Citations
Upload a picture for other readers to see.
In other languages:
Español: , Português: , Français: , Deutsch: , Italiano: , Русский: , 中文: , Bahasa Indonesia: , Nederlands: , Čeština: , العربية: , ไทย: , हिन्दी: , Tiếng Việt: , 한국어:
Video: How To STOP Negative/Stressful Thinking Once and For All
The Myths About Menopause
Best Dressed Men Of The Week Feat
Meghan Markle Just Received the Title of Duchess of Sussex Ahead of the Royal Wedding
How to Improve Soft Skills
Chanel Reverie Parisienne Spring 2015 Makeup Collection
How to Eliminate Cat Odors Around the House
Taking Medication: Special Concerns in Older Adults
How to Determine Your Primary Health Insurance As a Dependent on Both Plans
McDonalds Is Getting Rid of Its McFlurry Machines
How to Diagnose Glaucoma in Poodles