Does Thought Stopping Really Help Get Rid of Negative Thoughts? - Deepstash
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Thought stopping

Thought stopping

Thought stopping is common in cognitive behavioural therapy.

  • The clinician teaches the technique to the client, who can use it to stop racing thoughts or obsessive worrying.

In this technique, when the obsessive or racing thoughts begin, the client says, clearly and distinctly, "Stop!" This then allows the client to substitute a new, healthier thought.


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Does thought stopping really work?

Does thought stopping really work?

While some therapists and group therapy programs promote thought stopping as an effective technique, the results of a 2010 review of research by a group of Yale psychologists disagree.

  • The review found an association between thought suppression strategies and greater depression and anxiety, not less.

The psychologists found an association between anxiety reduction and other strategies including, cognitive restructuring, acceptance, and problem-solving techniques.


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Thought stopping DIY

Thought stopping DIY

You can have a shot at doing it yourself by following these four steps:

  1. Say "Stop!" when you experience a recurring thought, either aloud or to yourself.
  2. Negate the bad thought in a positive way, by exchanging the negative thought for a positive one. Replace "I cannot..." or "I will not..." with "I can..." or "I will..."
  3. Take a deep breath, or learn a breathing relaxation technique, to help you relax instead of feeling anxiety, and say the peaceful thought out loud or in your mind repeatedly until the bad thought disappears.
  4. Complete these steps every time you notice the recurring thought.


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Stress inoculation training

Stress inoculation training

Stress inoculation training (SIT), along with cognitive behavior therapy, can be successful at preventing the development of chronic post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Thought stopping is one of a variety of coping skills taught during SIT. 

Other coping skills include:

  • Deep muscle relaxation training
  • Breath control
  • Role-playing
  • Positive thinking


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Keep in mind what thoughts you stop

This technique will not work for everyone! I think it is important you keep in mind what thoughts you try to stop and push away.

  • Research has found out that this technique can lead to greater depression and sadness so that is why it's important to not push thoughts away that could help you solve a problem within yourself.
  • I don't want you guys to stop thoughts that are helpful to you. because you read this stash so keep this in mind, please 💜


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