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An important part of gaining control over your repetitive thoughts is to becoming aware of them when they occur. When you notice negative thoughts start to creep in, you should envision a red stop sign, and say to yourself, “STOP!” The more you practice this, the more you will gain control over your thoughts.
Write Out Options and Solutions
Writing down your thoughts helps to “get them out of your head,” and allows you to view them more rationally. Follow these steps:
- Write down the thought that is stuck in your head.
- Write down what you can do to help offset the thought.
- Write down the things that you have no control over with regard to the thought.
Think Before Automatically Saying NO
Some people have the tendency to say “no” automatically–even before thinking about what was asked of them. This can be especially problematic in relationships. It is limiting and unnecessary to always dismiss ideas or deny your partner his or her request. To help with this, before responding, take a deep breath, hold it for three seconds, and then take five seconds to exhale while considering what the best way to respond would be.
These techniques can help you vastly improve your mental flexibility which in turn will help you reduce your worries, improve your relationships and reduce the distress you experience when you get stuck on unhealthy or negative thoughts and behaviors.