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Thought stopping - We’re doing a disservice if we just stop there.



Spiral bound journal with three crystals on top

This is a technique that therapists teach clients in order to manage symptoms associated with anxiety, depression, paranoia, impulsivity, the list of symptoms can just keep going! Anxious thoughts might look like “What’s going to happen if I don’t…” or “I’m not prepared enough for this test, what if I fail?” or “I’m not sure if Annie likes me; how am I supposed to act around her? What do I talk about? What if she laughs at me?...” Depressive thoughts might look like “My life sucks. Nothing goes right for me. Why should I even bother getting out of bed today?”

 

Yes, it’s important to not believe these thoughts, and to stop them in their tracks. It’s also important to learn to control the thoughts in your mind; but if we incessantly try to stop it [the mind] from having a specific thought, then it’s like we’re creating a dam or a backlog, if you will. A dam that was never meant to be built. Over time, if continues to build and build and build, the dam WILL collapse…and here comes the flood of thoughts, emotions, and potentially something else you never expected – chronic medical issues. Your body can’t hold all of it anymore! These epigenetic changes are not your fault. As a society we’re just now releasing the stigma of talking about emotions. You couldn’t have known that holding onto everything could cause something like this to happen to your body. I am here to help you learn simple and effective ways to cope, and potentially reverse these epigenetic changes to your DNA; or at the very least, turn down the dial on the symptoms you do experience so life can be more manageable and enjoyable.

 

You have to learn to master the second step – leaning into these thoughts! They have information attached to them. They have emotion attached to them, which has even more information for you!

 

Lean in, ask yourself the hard questions. Follow and go down the rabbit hole KNOWING you are safe and ok because you already have the answer to “fix it.” It’s hiding in those scary thoughts and uncomfortable emotions.

 

The best, easiest, fastest way to do it is with a piece of paper and a pen.

 

Your thoughts can’t stop when they have a fully connected channel. If you try to just do it in your mind, your brain will stop you in order to protect you. With a pen in your hand, putting it to a piece of paper, it creates a direct channel and outlet.

 

I had this initial thought about an hour ago and the trail of wisdom stopped mid-sentence in the first paragraph up there ^ because my brain said “oh yeah I know, I understand, I get it.” Can you see all the rest that came out of this thought now that I sat down to write it? What you’re actually reading now is maybe the third or fourth iteration of it because I’ve let myself continue to connect with it over and over throughout the day; and also today which is now a week from when I wrote this.

 

So let me clarify – thought stopping is completely necessary because we need to learn to control what our mind does and how it works. And there are times when having certain thoughts interfere with our ability to function as a human on a day-to-day basis. To negate that this is not a necessary tool is not what I am saying. There’s just a second step to it that I haven’t seen paired with it.

 

I tell all my clients “Life is a mind game. Master it and you win!” So, stop those darn thoughts in their tracks when they pop up in the middle of a test, or when you’re about to meet a new person to get to know them, or when life just sucks and you just don’t wanna for the day! But then give yourself some time later that day to lean in and investigate what’s below the surface.

 

So how do you journal?

 

Write those nasty thoughts down on paper and let them come to life. Ask “Why do I think this? What emotion is tied to this? Where do I feel it in my body? What would happen if…? I feel ____ because…” Just let the pen keep going as the thoughts pour out. You’ll experience this release and realization 3-fold: by hearing the thoughts, seeing the thoughts as the ink meets the paper, and physically by utilizing your hand to writing it on the paper with the pen in your hand. (If you use a scented pen, then I guess you can smell it too! LOL!) You just engaged with 3 (or 4) of your senses to connect with and understand the messages waiting to be decoded inside!

 

Guess what?

 

It doesn’t even need to be legible. This is just an outlet, remember?! I don’t care if it looks like chicken scratch! You don’t actually need to be able to read it. All you need to do is be curious, instead of being reactive or believing the thought. Thoughts do not define who you are. What lives in your heart does. Our brain is merely a messenger trying to interpret shit, and sometimes doesn’t give us the best language to understand what our heart is trying to tell us. It’s like a game of telephone from our heart to our brain, the message gets all jumbled up somewhere and we’re left with the randomly coded messages that sound like “the entire world is out to get us, we should just stay in bed, and assume the worst.”

 

And as you can already see, this works for channeling ideas too! Although you might want to be able to read those journal entries, so don’t let those ones come out like chicken scratch!

 

Lastly, this is a part of manifestation and bringing and idea, a goal, or a dream to life in this world. Paper gives it space. It’s an idea’s first landing into the physical world.

 

Go journal my friend!

 

P.S. If the idea of thought stopping doesn’t make any sense to you, because “How can I stop a thought?” Then you may need to start with thought stopping’s prerequisite – mindfulness. This is the practice of learning to become the witness to your thoughts, your emotions, your body signals and sensations – which is the basis for our entire experience of life here on Earth.

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