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How To Thought Stop! A Technique to Cope with Ruminative Thoughts


Updated: October 3, 2006

Loop-thoughts, repeated bothersome unnecessary thoughts (rumination), can occur at any time to anybody. We all get stressed when we have to cope with difficult situations, but there are techniques we can use that will result in stress reduction, and this technique I think is a great coping strategy. I use this technique when I am under stress and begin to find myself thinking about a situation or have concerns that keeps repeating over and over with no resolution.
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: As long as it takes!

Here's How:

  1. Background to the Treatment Technique. In this instance it is repeated, unnecessary, bothersome thoughts that you are trying to stop. So, first you have to recognise the symptoms of stress. Next, you have to believe that your thinking can both block or promote your ability to cope. Coping strategies involve restructuring your thoughts. The technique is really quite straight forward and an effective treatment.
  2. The Technique
    When you find yourself ruminating, yell “STOP”. But, as shouting out loud can cause you a few social problems, try shouting (thinking) “stop” to yourself. You may look a little odd as you scrunch up your eyes or stare madly into the distance, but if it works ...
  3. When the same thought(s) return
    Some thoughts will often keep repeating themselves like some awful catchy tune. Keep trying the silent shout “Stop” technique. You should find that you are able to control unwanted, useless thoughts. This is not a home-baked technique it is an effective cognitive coping strategy used widely by psychologists.
  4. If the Technique doesn't Succeed If the treatment doesn't work you can tap or bang on a table if you find it makes you more aware of the 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 recognising the thoughts you want to stop, go back to the shouting ”Stop” technique, loudly but silently to yourself.


  1. Practice does make perfect and it should not take you long to get to grips with the thought stopping technique. I find thought stopping is a great coping strategy and treatment. In my view any method that contributes to a happier life is worth trying.

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