Thought Stopping

This is from the course in Life Catalyst Institute on "How To Talk To Yourself,"

Thought Stopping is the most common technique used to introduce positive thoughts and eliminate the negative thoughts.

1. Become Aware of Self-Talk. As already noted, the first step in gaining control of self-talk is by increasing awareness of what we tend to say to ourselves both in preparation and performance and the situations in which these thoughts typically occur.

For example, it may be that at the start of a day when we are fresh it is easier to be positive, but at the end of the day when we are fatigued it is much easier to be negative. This is when we question our ability. (“I cannot keep going like this. I am on a path to total failure.”)

 A good way to become more aware of self-talk is by recording thoughts in a logbook. For two to three days keep a record of self talk during different parts of the day. Is your self-talk helpful or harmful?

2. Stop the Negative. Once negative self-talk is identified, the person needs to learn to “park it” or stop it—which is easier said than done! Saying “park it” or visualizing a big, red stop sign are good cues or triggers to use to help halt negative thought.

3. Replace with Positive. Imagine that the mind is like a cup—if it is filled to the top with positive thoughts, there will be no room for negative self-talk.

We need to identify positive self-talk in advance and replace the negative thoughts with identified positive ones.

4. Practice Thought Stopping. A final step is to practice, practice, practice stopping and replacing negative talk. For a while, athletes will need to be very conscious of their internal self-talk as the thought stopping technique will not occur automatically. With enough practice, positive self-talk will become second nature.

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