When your mind is churning over and over again on an unwanted thought, commitment to reigning those thoughts in is the key. The following steps will be useful if you consciously choose to gain control.
1. Say ,”Stop,” preferably aloud or at least in your head.
2. Shift your physical position. If you’re sitting, stand. If you’re lying on your stomach turn to your back or side. If you’re in the car, make some sort of movement that does not interfere with driving safely.
3. Focus your visual attention on something around you and begin a detailed narrative about it. Maybe there is a tree or picture you can look at. When you’re driving you can look at the cars, road and signs in front of you. If you are in bed trying to sleep, visualize a scene you enjoy. Notice the details you can see narrating aloud or in your head everything you see. Think like an artist. Notice the nuances of color, the play of light and textures in your landscape.
4. After a few minutes, go back to whatever it was you were doing. If you are trying to sleep, allow your thoughts to go to a sweet memory or stay focused on your visualization. If the intrusive thoughts come back (and they likely will), repeat this process. You may need to go through these steps again and again. That’s OK. It’s part of the process necessary to gain control of your brain. Few brain changes occur immediately.