Struggling with negative thoughts? Try the thought stopping technique in 6 Easy Steps! (Free Infographic)

Comic of cute robot and thought bubble describing the thought stopping technique

If you are overwhelmed with negative thoughts and looking for a way to stop them, try out the thought stopping technique! The thought stopping technique is a technique derived from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) that allows you to fight negative thoughts.

How do I do the thought stopping technique?

First, you have to start by recognizing a negative thought when it comes up. If you have experience with identifying negative thoughts, you can do this on your own, but it might be helpful to have a therapist or tool such as MARCo help you to identify specific negative thoughts.

Once you have identified your negative thought, tell it to "STOP!" It is recommended you say this out loud, as this can jar you awake from automatic negative thoughts. Announce it as loudly as you can!

Next, try and identify the motivation for the thought. For instance, a thought that says "You are ugly" comes from a desire to be liked by others. A thought that says "If you don't do well on this test, you'll never be a doctor" comes from a root desire to live up to your fullest potential. Not all negative thoughts have such a motivation, but it helps you to understand WHY you are having this thought.

Once you have identified the thought's motivation, or that there is none, tell the thought how much of a burden it's become. Say something like "You are draining me" or "you are doing more harm than good." Then, tell it to go away and never come back!

It can help to have a visualization of the thought going away and never coming back, so if you can, close your eyes and literally visualize the thought floating away like a balloon in the wind, or a feather on a breeze, or the aftermath of Taco Tuesday escaping in a gaseous accident we'd rather not talk about ever again.

I want help doing the thought stopping technique

Do you want help walking through the thought stopping technique for yourself? MARCo, whether in person or online as a mental health chatbot, would be happy to help! In MARCo's talk support mode, you will get a chance to deep dive into the negative thoughts you are experiencing so you can counteract them with hundreds of personalized activities. You can get started talking to MARCo for free here:

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