Helping Caregivers Relax. ‘Stop' Technique Helps Deal with Repetitive Thoughts
I have to share this great, simple technique with you. I have used it myself with excellent results. It is called ‘Stop'! It is a way of preventing repeated, bothersome, unnecessary thoughts (rumination) that occur when we get stressed. It is a great coping strategy.
I use this technique when I am under stress and find myself thinking about a situation or have concerns that keep repeating over and over with no resolution.
First you have to recognize the symptoms of stress. The ‘Stop' technique works because you know that by blocking those thoughts you can cope better because you are lessening your stress levels.
How to Use the Stop Technique
When you find yourself ruminating, yell "STOP". Shouting out loud may not be appropriate in some circumstances! In restaurants, malls, at a new friends house! In these situations try thought-shouting "stop" to yourself. You may look a little distracted but that is more acceptable than shouting in public places. It is often best to begin using the technique in the privacy of your own home, or maybe when you're alone in the car.
Practice does make perfect so you will have to keep repeating the ‘Stop' Technique each time you find yourself caught up in those loop thoughts. You should find that you are able to control unwanted, useless thoughts.
If the treatment doesn't work you can tap or bang on a table if you find it makes you more aware of the loop thoughts. People sometimes find a noise promotes the "Stop" thought. If you do decide you need to "Stop" the thought with a noise, it is best used when you are alone. Once you get used to recognizing the thoughts you want to stop, go back to the shouting "Stop" technique, loudly but silently to yourself.
This is not a home-baked technique. It is an effective cognitive coping strategy and a technique used widely by psychologists. It can work for you too.