Technique #2: Thought Stopping


When you feel anxious, listen to what you are telling yourself. Interrupt your anxiety-producing thoughts by yelling "STOP" to yourself. Take a deep breath, and make yourself come up with a coping statement. Do this as often as necessary before and during a test. Use the following procedure to learn this technique.

Silent practice: Think of a recent test in which you experienced anxiety. Bring up enough of the details that you start to feel some discomfort and anxiety. Focus on what you are saying to yourself.

  • Silently yell "STOP".
  • Breathe deeply several times.
  • Come up with a coping statement.

Written practice: Focus again on the situation you used in the silent practice. When you begin to feel anxiety, focus on what you are saying to yourself.

  • Silently yell "STOP".
  • Breathe deeply several times.
  • Write a coping statement that helps you problem-solve instead of panic.

Oral practice:Think of another test situation in which you experienced anxiety. This time, practice the thought-stopping technique out loud, but away from other people.

Practice the thought-stopping technique any time you begin to feel anxious. Eventually, it will become a method that feels comfortable and almost automatic.

Back