In research conducted at Duke University, one technique that proved helpful for people with diabetes was a simple method known as thought stopping. Use this technique whenever negative or irrational thinking starts to get the better of you.
- Close your eyes and then imagine a situation in which the negative or stressful thought might enter your head. Set a timer for 3 minutes and continue contemplating the stressful thought.
- When the timer goes off, shout ‘Stop!’ If you wish, punctuate your exclamation with a physical sign, such as standing up or clapping your hands. (This may seem awkward at first, but the forcefulness of the statement is part of what makes it work. As you become more experienced with the technique, you can say the word more quietly or think it to yourself.) Try to keep your mind blank for 30 seconds, and if the thought comes back, shout ‘Stop!’ again.
- Replace the distressing thought with a more positive, rational thought. For example, if the stressful thought is ‘I can’t do this; I’m worthless’, instead say to yourself, ‘There are many valuable things I can do.’