The 6 Most Effective Thought Stopping Technique

Anxiety, stress, and panic occur because of unwanted or intrusive thoughts or negative and disturbing thoughts inside the mind, which get difficult to eradicate. Thought stopping technique1 is about suppressing thoughts, especially the negative ones inside one’s mind.

We unknowingly think about extremely negative things, which results in depression or anxiety. According to studies, people who constantly think negatively have higher chances of contracting dementia or Alzheimer’s2, and other mental disorders.

It is difficult to get out of your head and feel stuck in the turmoil of negative thoughts 3that can turn one’s world upside down. Due to this reason, nearly 70% of people worldwide suffer from certain mental illnesses and, most commonly, depression and anxiety.

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Therapists, psychologists, or any mental health professional worldwide suggest thought-stopping techniques to stay positive4, overcome anxiety, and let go of the negativity inside their heads.

The more people understand their brain’s operation, the more they know themselves and easily manage stressful situations. For a person’s healthy and good mental health, one should stop thinking and taking things negatively.

Negative thoughts and feelings negatively impact a person’s social image and performance. Inevitably, we all have certain bad days in our life where we feel everything is falling apart, everywhere is negativity, and there is fuming anger or frustration inside.

It is alright to have an off day or a bad day once in a while but experiencing those negative thoughts is extremely unhealthy.

1. Signs Of A Negative Person

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Certain signs and symptoms of negativity inside a person’s mind cause their mind to turn everything into anxious stuff or, mostly, negative.

Here are a few of them:

  • They are too much inside their head that never sees things from others’ perspectives.
  • People with constant negative or unwanted thoughts think they are beyond their age to explore any new thing/experience.
  • They let their past experiences decide their future. These people linger on their past experiences and never try to come out of them to change their future.
  • They never put effort into doing new things and prefer not to try a task instead of failing badly.
  • Negative people constantly complain about things that they don’t like or enjoy.

Procrastination is the ultimate sign of a negative person who may sometimes decide to replace negative thoughts but delays practicing the thought-stopping technique.

Some more common signs of a negative person include:

  • Constant complaining and negativity

  • Pessimism and cynicism

  • Lack of enthusiasm or motivation

  • Refusal to see the positive in situations

  • Blaming others for their problems

  • Being critical and judgmental of others

  • Resistance to change and new ideas

  • Negative body language, such as crossed arms or scowling

  • Difficulty in maintaining healthy relationships

It’s important to note that everyone has negative thoughts and feelings at times, and it’s not healthy to constantly criticize or label someone as “negative.” However, if a person’s negativity is consistently impacting their own well-being and the well-being of those around them, it may be worth addressing.


2. What Is A Thought Stopping Technique

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Thought Stopping Technique is usually practiced by therapists across the globe on their patients to help overcome anxiety caused by certain unwanted and negative thoughts inside their heads.

With the help of this thought-stopping technique, a person is distracted from negative or stressful thoughts into thinking about positive, realistic, and good things. It is always observed that people tend to develop an automatic habit of dwelling in negativity, resulting in great turmoil.

The thought-stopping technique has certain advantages. One of the most important benefits of practicing the thought-stopping technique is that people get complete control over their minds and recurring thought processes.

Thought Stopping Technique effectively stops unnecessary thoughts that might ruin someone’s day or mood and make negative vibes enter their lives.

People suffering from panic or anxiety disorder could easily adapt to thinking negatively as a habit if not checked regularly.

2. Different Thought Stopping Techniques

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The major goal of this technique is to prevent and treat one’s mind from obsessive thoughts, and one of the most effective thought-stopping techniques is a piece of medical advice given by doctors and therapists worldwide by using a rubber band.

In this technique, a person is asked to wear a rubber band on their wrist; whenever a negative thought comes in, they have to snap the rubber band.

There are several different types of thought-stopping techniques that doctors and therapists suggest to their patients suffering from anxiety or depression. One of them is saying STOP whenever a person starts thinking negatively or an unwanted thought enters their mind.

There are several thought-stopping techniques that can be used to interrupt negative thoughts and patterns of thinking. Some common techniques include:

  1. Mental distraction: This involves redirecting your attention to something else, such as a task or activity, to take your mind off the negative thought.
  2. Positive self-talk: This involves replacing negative thoughts with positive affirmations or self-talk. For example, instead of thinking “I can’t do this,” you might say to yourself “I am capable and strong.”
  3. Reframing: This involves looking at a situation from a different perspective to change the way you feel about it. For example, instead of thinking “This is impossible,” you might reframe the thought to “This is a challenge, but I can overcome it.”
  4. Relaxation techniques: This can include deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, and visualization, to help reduce stress and tension that can contribute to negative thoughts.
  5. Humor: Using humor to diffuse a negative thought or situation can be effective. Laughing at oneself can be a great way to reduce tension and make the thoughtless intense.

It’s important to note that it is normal to have negative thoughts and it’s not realistic to completely eliminate them. The goal is to learn how to manage them effectively. It may take time and practice to find the technique that works best for you, and it’s ok to experiment with different methods to find what works for you.

Here is a more explained list of 6 important and different thought-stopping technique which is extremely effective in curbing negative thoughts and developing positive thoughts.

Thought-stopping techniques are as follows:

2.1. Journaling

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It is one of the most effective thought-stopping techniques that help prevent negative thoughts in one’s mind. Journaling is a great way to write down every thought inside your mind on paper to let go of unwanted thoughts dwelling inside one’s brain.

There are various types of journaling, such as gratitude journals, dream journals, travel journals, and others. Keeping a journal in today’s modern world is an incredible way to touch with the traditional method of writing.

The major objective of writing a journal is to organize our thoughts in one place and make sense of them. Therapists often suggest their clients suffering from anxiety keep a journal and note down any unwanted or recurring thoughts inside their brains to let go of them and not dwell on them.

2.2. Meditation & Mindfulness

The best way to cure depression, anxiety, or any mental illness is meditation. 3 out of 5 people worldwide have greatly benefitted from meditation to curb anxiety and depression. It is scientifically proven that meditation is the best thought-stopping technique, and it works like wonder to have a positive life and let go of negativity.

Mindfulness involves being present in the moment and focusing on your thoughts and emotions without judgment. This can help you gain perspective on the thought and reduce its power over you.

Meditating daily is a great way to prohibit negative feelings or thoughts in one’s mind. This changes the cognitive structure of the brain and develops strong abilities to fend off anxiety at best.

Meditation reduces anxiety, and there is less chance of having any negative or unwanted thoughts. According to studies, meditating for 8 weeks constantly can help develop positive mindfulness, cure physical pain, and reduce anxiety to a great extent.

2.3. Auditory Distraction

To stop thinking unnecessarily or stop obsessive recurring thoughts inside one’s mind, auditory distraction is of great help. Listening to music, podcasts, or audiobooks, watching your favorite movie/show, and calling someone to have a conversation are some negative thought-stopping techniques.

The little voice inside our head sometimes gets loud, and it gets difficult to get rid of the noise, which is when auditory distraction comes into the picture.

Whenever you think the voice inside your head is getting louder, put your headphones on and let the music do its magic and groove to the beats, indulge in an audiobook story, or watch a show/movie that you’ve wished to see for a long time.

This is helpful to distract your brain from causing distress with negative and unwanted thoughts.

2.4. Stop Sign

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Image by Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay

This is a verbal interruption which is another thought-stopping technique. In this technique, whenever a person starts thinking negatively, they need to say STOP in their head or out loud if they are okay with it. This is a traditional and extremely effective method to stop unwanted thoughts and help maintain peace of mind.

This technique could be done several times a day, once in a calm and normal voice inside their head, and if that doesn’t work, one can try saying it out loud as a command to their brain. Saying STOP or NOT NOW is really helpful to pause the recurring and loud voice inside one’s head.

2.5. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

People suffering from an anxiety disorder or constant negative and unwanted thoughts could be treated with techniques and treatments that are extremely effective in the long term.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is another thought-stopping technique that is extremely helpful in treating anxiety disorder and recurring negative thoughts.

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) helps change one’s perspective on how they think and see the world and themselves. It helps analyze how our brain thinks in a certain situation; it is vastly about thinking and not how one feels in certain situations.

The main objective of CBT is to identify the negative thoughts and perspectives in one’s mind and change them into positive thinking and delightful thoughts and emotions.

The famous saying goes, “If one can change the way they think, they can change the way they feel,” which is what CBT is all about.

It helps correct the thinking pattern of one’s mind, which is filled with anxious, negative thoughts and unwanted thoughts that hold them back from doing things in life.

2.6. Self Talk

Thought stopping technique
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Only we can control our minds, and if we start talking to ourselves positively about things, we might reduce our turmoil and anxiety levels to a great extent.

If a person is nervous or scared to do something for the first time and is having negative thoughts that they might leave a bad impression or they are going to ruin the performance, then at this time, they should self-talk positively and motivate themselves by saying,’ I can do this!’

One should motivate and encourage oneself when anxious thoughts start prevailing inside their head until it is gone. After achieving success in preventing anxiety and negative thoughts from taking over your mind, you should reward yourself.

Little victories and happiness in oneself are great signs of being happy and stress-free.

3. Conclusion

Our mind is a beautiful and sometimes difficult place to be in. Trespassers like negative, recurring, and unwanted thoughts certainly make our lives difficult, but it is not hard to get rid of them.

One should be consistent in practicing the thought-stopping technique to let go of all negativity, avoid dwelling on anxious thoughts, and focus on attracting positive vibes and encouragement in their life.

It is important to remember that these techniques take practice and patience to master, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results right away. It’s also important to seek professional help if the thoughts that bother you are causing significant distress in your daily life.


1. How long does it take for the Thought Stopping technique to work?

A: The effectiveness and speed of the technique’s results can vary from person to person. Some people might notice a reduction in the frequency of unwanted thoughts relatively quickly, while for others, it could take more time and practice.

2. Can Thought Stopping be used alongside other techniques or therapies?

A: Yes, Thought Stopping can be used in conjunction with other therapeutic techniques. It is often used as a part of cognitive behavioral therapy 5(CBT) or mindfulness-based approaches to help individuals manage their thoughts and emotions.

3. Are there any potential drawbacks to using the Thought Stopping technique?

A: While the Thought Stopping technique can be helpful, it might not be effective for everyone or for all types of thoughts. For some individuals, trying to forcefully suppress thoughts could lead to increased rumination or frustration. It’s important to adapt techniques to your own needs and consult a mental health professional if you have concerns.

Read more

  1. Stern, R. S., M. S. Lipsedge, and I. M. Marks. “Obsessive ruminations: A controlled trial of thought-stopping technique.” Behaviour Research and Therapy 11.4 (1973): 659-662. ↩︎
  2. Méndez-Sanz, Rodrigo, Isabel de la Torre-Díez, and Miguel López-Coronado. “What is your risk of contracting alzheimer’s disease? A telematics tool helps you to predict it.” Journal of medical systems 40 (2016): 1-8. ↩︎
  3. Vandevoorde, J., et al. “Measurement of flow of thought in 68 patients monitored in post-emergency outpatient consultations: role of ideational turmoil in the anxiety depressive symptomatology.” L’encephale 44.4 (2018): 308-314. ↩︎
  4. Carrion, Iraida V., et al. ““I told myself to stay positive” perceptions of coping among Latinos with a cancer diagnosis living in the United States.” American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine® 34.3 (2017): 233-240. ↩︎
  5. Wenzel, Amy. “Basic strategies of cognitive behavioral therapy.” Psychiatric Clinics 40.4 (2017): 597-609. ↩︎

Last Updated on by ayeshayusuf


Apeksha soni
  1. These tricks really helped me a lot! I used to think too much and feel tired, but this article gave me easy ways to stop those thoughts. Now, I can control my mind better and feel more peaceful. I think others should try these tricks if they’re feeling too many thoughts.

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