How often have you been driven bananas by nervous thoughts before, during and sometimes after speeches? Each time you consciously try to stop them, they come back louder than before. Hopeless, right? WRONG!
There are things you can do. Dr. James Taylor came up with a technique called stop - think. Developed for persons plagued by thoughts they felt they couldn't control, Dr. Taylor merely sat the person down and asked him or her to let that "nervous tape recording" play. Then, without warning, he yelled "Stop That!" at the top of his voice. The person, stunned by this surprising behavior, reacted by stopping the thought. And once it was demonstrated that the thought can be turned off, the person learns it is he or she alone who decides what creatures may enter his mental landscape and how long they may stay. Then it becomes merely a question of practicing stopping.
Thought substitution is another technique that can be used along with stop-think to introduce change in nervous thinking. You can practice it whenever you find yourself slipping into nervous cul-de-sacs. It involves stopping the first thought, then replacing it with a positive one. Indulge in a pleasurable fantasy instead of dwelling on the gloomy side of what may happen. And don't stop to argue that it won't work, or wonder if it's really that simple. Spend your energy practicing instead.
If stopping nervous thoughts seems impossible to accomplish without some help, be assured that not only can you do it, but you will never be without support if you will only listen to your "inner teacher".
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