To control torturing images and obsessive thoughts that poison your day, consider using The following Thought Stopping Technique as an antidote. This is a simple yet effective technique used often in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. This does not mean that such thoughts and feelings ought to be ignored. Obsessive thinking is not conducive to creative problem-solving. Once you keep thoughts and emotions under check, you then go ahead, on your own time analyze and see what you can do about them. To demonstrate the dramatic effect of the Thought Stopping Technique, I will ask you to try the following experiment on a friend. It will take about three minutes. Tell your friend that you are testing the effectiveness of imagery.
Read the following passage, slowly with a relaxed tone of voice allowing your partner enough time to visualize the images: “I want you to close your eyes…take a deep breath…. And …..relaaaax…breathing deeply and regularly… Deeply …..aaaaand…. regularly…. Now imagine that you are walking towards the fridge…. Open the door of the fridge……take out that beautiful bright yellow lemon …aaaaand … Cut this lemon with your knife…. Now take a big bite out of this lemon… Chew it………feel how juicy the lemon is ………….” Keep quiet for about 5 seconds and then suddenly shout “stop!” at the same time banging your fist on the table with a loud noise. Usually, your startled partner’s eyes get wide open. Now, proceed with a set of questions:
• What happened to the image of the lemon at the command of “stop?” Usually, it disappears.
• Did your partner have the sour taste of the lemon while “chewing it?” Usually, people grimace
“tasting” the lemon. If you noticed grimacing… Discuss.
• Was there increased saliva during the experiment? A majority says “yes.” Next, let me explain the science behind the technique: Does the name Ivan Pavlov “ring a bell”? Pavlov, a scientist, in a research experiment, did in fact ring a bell each time he fed a dog. The dog salivated. After several trials, Pavlov just rang the bell without giving any food to the dog.
Still, the dog salivated even when there was no food in sight. Pavlov concluded that the dog had learned to associate the ringing of the bell with food. Now, here is the catch. Similar to Pavlov’s dogs, we humans too, salivate simply by visualizing food. Remember, the food and drink ads on TV? Watching advertisements related to food, notice how unintentionally you salivate. This is precisely the effect advertisers want to create. Their goal is to make you re-live a moment related to eating. At this point, the innocents among us usually drift toward the refrigerator, whether hungry or not. Similarly, people salivate and make a face just by vividly imagining the sour taste of a lemon. Yet, where’s the lemon? A virtual image of a lemon created real physical reactions. Moreover, using the Thought Stopping Technique, a simple command stopped the process! The Thought Stopping Technique gets rid of obsessive thoughts and images. We can say that this technique gets rid of the lemons of your system if you will!
Mini Audio selections are chapters extracted from GOODBYE STRESS – HELLO SUCCESS
Dr. Louise Aznavour
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