Stopping thoughts is like to dont think in a pig elephant


Hello all,

I have allways Wondered about the stopping thoughts technique if it could make sometimes thoughts more persistent, well like if a tell you dont think about a pig elephant for ten seconds Whats happen is the opposite, you have it more persistent in your mind. What you resist persist… So i suposse the idea of stopping Ants is like to dont think in the pig elephant and this could make the Ant stronger. thats makes me confusse, cause is the opposite of acceptance therapy. Could someone clear me up this please, cause i used to fail big time when i tried thought stopping in the pass. Thank u. and sorry for my spelling i am spaniard :slight_smile:


Hi Maria,
I originally thought the same thing as you, but the thing is you are just stopping the thought by making a rational statement, and then going on to distract yourself with something else. You are not supposed to fight the thought, just try to respond to it calmly. It doesn’t always work perfect for me every time, but if you stick with it, it will eventually start to work. I’ve found that not every strategy always works great for me, and some work better than others, but I try to use them as best I can when I can, and I think they all sort of start to work together as time goes on.


Thank for you réply!
I can see your point now, first acknowledging the thought, second labelling as irrational and then find a distraction. Cause if we distract Straight on is like resisting, making the thought more persistent. My problem is that I do a lot of what if… thinking, like what if i make a fool of myself in the meeting?? i Would say that 80 per cent of my Ant thinking is like that, so is going to be a lot of repeating i suposse and is quite Tyring sometimes more when i am under stress With racing thoughts. I suposse is a lot of patience and faith cause cant see results inmediatly, probably happens to everyone cause is all about to change a bad habit
Thank you again


Yep, exactly…patience, just do what you can, and in time it’ll come. :relaxed: There are other strategies coming up in the series that will help you then change those thoughts around so you are more rational in general.


I don’t know if this makes any sense to others but it was an insight for me. I noticed that I didn’t react as much from what others were doing/saying but more from my own thoughts ABOUT what others were doing/saying. When I can see it comes from myself and not directly from anyone in the “real world” I feel less pressure to react on the thoughts.


That is fantástic and is what i really do is a proyection of my own thoughts and insecurities on to others, probably because my low self Steem, but is great you can see it so easily, it takes off a lot of pressure as you said. But i Still identify a lot With my own thoughts specially With the " must be like this so People Will like me" i suposse i dont Love myself too much thats allways been my problem i put a lot of expectacións on me and the others. Thats cause my perfeccionist and the " i must be like this to be accepted" is like dr Richards said i am my worst enemy. Anyway if you can take distance from your own thoughts thats a Good Step forward :wink: thank u


Hadn’t thought about projecting, that helped thanks. I also think that trying to distance yourself from your thoughts is very important.

You know, if someone walks up to me and says “I hate you”, I don’t think I’d care so much about that by it’s own if I hadn’t created a lot of own thoughts about it. Like “That’s terrible”,“He is mean”, “It’s unfair, I haven’t done him any wrong”, “What if we can never be friends again”, “What if … yada yada yada”. Those thoughts give a lot of negative emotions. If I can catch them and see it’s my own thoughts that I project on the world it’s easier to drop them.

Sometimes I too think we are our own worst enemy. We beat ourselves up with our thoughts and projections and then we wonder why we feel so bad. No one “out there” can implant bad thoughts in our heads but they don’t have to as we’re so good at doing that ourselves :slight_smile: