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Unblocking Looping Thought Patterns: 6 Tips for Stopping Them

My passion is to inspire and coach people to achieve what they want to get out of life.

What governs your perception?

Take back the control of your perceptions and your thoughts.

Take back the control of your perceptions and your thoughts.

"I Can't Stop My Negative Thoughts"

"I can't seem to stop my negative thoughts and they make me feel helpless." My thoughts are driving me crazy and feel out of control." "I don't know what to do? I feel like such a failure."

I get told these types of statements over and over again by my clients especially when they get fearful and mentally fixed on negative thoughts. Once they get caught in thought looping they get told by others “just stop worrying about what happened to you. It is over. The past is gone."

Think about when you fixate on your past and what happened. You are generally thinking: "I need to stop trying to fix the past." "I need to do something. I need to live in the moment.”

As a result, you think, "I can't do anything. I am confused. I am totally lost in my thoughts. I am so stuck. I can't seem to move forward."

Everyone has accumulated blocking thoughts during our life. It is a normal part of life. The important part is what you do with your thoughts once you have recognized you have a negative thought pattern. What is harmful is when you get caught up in a thought or set of thoughts that endlessly circle without closure in your mind, like a whirlpool and no matter what you do, and nothing you do stop it. This mental occurrence is called a thought addiction (TA). TA is a habitual focusing on one thought or set of thoughts that consume your mental energy and life. Thought addiction is the returning to thought over and over again which does not serve you and has damaging results mental and emotional effects as well as depletes every system of your body of energy.

Check out your perceptions.

Check out your perceptions.

Do you find yourself mentally stuck often?

In order to move forward and attain what you want out of life, you first have to recognize that which is blocking your progress. Many people are not aware that the one thing that is stopping them from a personal, relational or career success is their own thinking patterns.

Understand, you are a product of your own thoughts. Thoughts shape your life and determine your mindset toward yourself and others. Thoughts patterns have a powerful influence on emotions, behaviors, and reactions as well.

There are those who fall into deep denial that they develop an addiction to a particular thought pattern. Some are so scared to see what is holding them back when in fact it is his or her own thoughts that are blocking. He or she is so afraid that they are addicted to their thoughts that they will not stop to look at what they are thinking and are afraid to take responsibility for his or her own thoughts because they feel out of control.

See what is real is that addiction to a thought or a set of thoughts clouds his or her ability to view themselves or life realistically.

Thought Pattern and Their Themes

I have found that most people use habitual thought patterns to keep him or her stuck. Generally fixated on the past or projecting on what might happen in the future), to numb out emotions or to avoid the present by allowing thoughts to loop over and over as a distraction from what is really going on. Anxious, depressing, suicidal and worried thinking are just a few forms of habitual thought looping (also known as a thought addiction).

It is a habitual thought pattern is what blocks you from reaching success, fulfillment, happiness, and success.

There are three thematic thought patterns.

I would like to briefly address themes that you may tend to fall into.

Theme #1 habitual thought pattern is Fixer. A Fixer is when you are always thinking about what has happened to you in the past. Many Fixers spend the majority of waking time constantly thinking about what happened, how it went wrong, how he or she failed or could not stop the event and going over every experience in order to figure out how to fix them. Involvement in this thought pattern is an attempt to fix, need to fix or how to change what happened. This theme will cause you to become depressed or disappointed because you learn that you can't change or fix the past.

The habitual thought pattern theme #2 which you may get stuck in is the Worrier. A Worrier is when you are afraid of what is going to happen in the future. Your thoughts focus and loop on projecting or predicting what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month or next year. Only in hindsight do you find out that 99% of those projections never happen or come true. This habitual thinking causes you to be overly fearful and anxious about anything in their future.

Theme #3 is Daydreamer. A Daydreamer is when you are unhappy with your life and spend the majority of your time mentally escaping through excessive daydreaming. When in this type of looping thinking occurs, it causes you to have a false view of yourself and the world as well as cause you to disconnect from yourself and others around you.

Is my thinking straight?

Thought addiction creates a shadow over your perceptions.

Thought addiction creates a shadow over your perceptions.

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How to Unblock Looping Thoughts: 6 Tips

1. Recognize you have a problem where you get stuck in your thoughts.

2. Identify and create a list of all the thoughts you repeatedly fixate or ruminate on during your day.

3. Next, to each thought on your list, write down which theme each thought fits into.

4. Then decide your options. Is each thought a barrier or a motivator? Does the thought stop you from accomplishing what you want or living your life in the moment? Or is this thought to motivate you into success?

5. Take action. Now join up with your imagination and correct the thoughts that are stopping you from living life in the moment.

I know you are very proficient at using your imagination, but maybe you do not know to effectively use your imagination to improve your life. Whether you know it or not you use your imagination to create images that support blocking thoughts and you generate feelings of anxiety, fear, and worry which is counter-productive to your emotional, physical, mental and spiritual health. Instead of always expecting only bad things to happen to you based on your past or worrying about things in the future which might never happen in the name of “being cautious”, create positive thoughts to fixate on. Make a decision to imagine these new thoughts happening in your present situations, relationships, outcomes, and future successes. Also, create new “feel good” images to connect with your new positive thoughts.

6. Develop discipline. So in order to embed the new list you've created, you need to develop a new positive habitual thought pattern. Extract 10 of the most important thoughts with the most powerful associated emotions in your list. Now, repeat the list to yourself 20 times a day with your eyes closed while you mentally visualize the imagines you developed for each as well as feel the associated emotions connected thoughts. This is a very powerful combination. Also, give yourself permission to open your mind to accept new possibilities.

Simply, make this statement your new mantra:

“See it, believe it, feel it and desire it and it will become true.”

If you put these 6 tips into action, you will soon produce new positive and productive patterns of thoughts. These new thoughts will embed into your mind over time and become part of your mental life.

© 2011 Bill Tollefson


Bill Tollefson (author) from Southwest Florida on November 28, 2014:

Dear mm,

Thank you for your comment. Please go to my HUB article and take the assessment to see at what degree your Thought Addiction is causing you problems. It is self-assessment and you can grade it yourself. Thought addiction is reall so take back control of your thinking.

mm on November 27, 2014:

I have a thinking addiction to it is so bad that when I am not thinking something I try to think something cause I feellike I should be thinking

Bill Tollefson (author) from Southwest Florida on February 17, 2012:

rankangel - Thank you for your openness and honesty. Believe me you are not powerless to your thoughts. It is a matter of skill development, not a weakness and I know you can do that. Do not entertain or attempt to control your thoughts, command them. There is a way to heal, I have helped many. Keep believing in you, and your strength.

Read more of my Hubs. Each has a lot of information and tips on how to change. Read and take the Thought Addiction Assessment. Blessings!

rarkangel on February 15, 2012:

wonderful in you getting back to me, shows how passionate and dedicated you are at helping like minded people - thank you so much appreciation as I am on the ball had enough and wanting to understand this just so much as i know it is part of my human experience but to think it exists, to know it does, to experience this every day is really wearing on me and now affecting my marriage because i am self medicating with a lot of food and sugar drinks which i have cut out alcohol and drugs but the hubby just doesn't understand and is telling me that i need to just have faith which i do but i guess when i spend a lot of time alone without a job at the moment and at night i get those feelings i just reallllly need an instant physical companion (a hit like the sugar drinks and chocolate) because realllllly he just doesn't get it and each time i tell Him he will say tell God to rebuke it which I do but I feel God doesn't put a magic wand on things, He has helped me to not give into the thoughts by giving me hope and strength...... but He isn't going to make it go away for me, I need to learn to do it myself so I can understand it, just like all my other weaknessess and errors have taught me life-learning things.

Bless you much and will share your hub with others who also maybe struggling such as a girl i know in rehab but felt too stuck myself to get into her stuff. So thanks!

Bill Tollefson (author) from Southwest Florida on February 15, 2012:

rankangel - First of all what you are having is not psychosis. You are not crazy. What you are having is a normal aftereffect of experiencing abuse. Many of the people I coach and have worked with over 35 years have the same fears of their flashbacks as you. It would take me pages to explain how this is growth even thought you do not feel so.

Read my HUB on Healing Unwanted Memories and that will give you a lot of awareness. Breaking free from flashbacks is possible. You can heal, you just have to understand the language of PTSD.

Thanks for your comments.

rarkangel from nz on February 14, 2012:

I am grateful for your blogs - now in my 30's my counselor gave me a dreams book. For the life of me I must get the name of it and get back to you. It was so good and have not come across another one as good as it or where it makes sense and aligns with my experiences. Now the counseling and the book really taught me to be in the present and that I can control the dreams. Talking it out and persevering with this really helped. I am in charge of my dreams now and it does not own my day's like it use to.

rarkangel 1 second ago

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But the flash backs I haven't learn't how to make those go away and I really have had enough. It is so exhausting. Thing's like in the shower, opening a door, it's worst atw night, in bed before sleep when I close my eye's, on the couch , picking up an object, remote, knife, fork, telling me to destroy my husband, my marriage, and myself. And also I went on camp recently and we went on a bush walk at night to see glow worms, we each had a rock to take to a mediation site and pray into it good things and to put down the bad things in our live's. But as we were walking through the night, these erratic flashbacks would be in my mind telling me to destroy this wonderful moment, I definitely was not at peace, I felt like I was being attacked by something psycho whispering in my mind to destroy the girls I was with (I have vowed I will destroy myself before I ever touch another human being), with the rock, and to destory myself. I am so insulted this is within me. How dare it. I am such a great wonderful loving girl who made a vow to be nothing like the violence I was exposed to from my parent's. So much abuse. Are these flashes disturbing me because of my past, even though I don't see images of my parent's, my mind plays some kind of scary flash as if something is going to hurt me. Is this pyschosis. Feed back would be very much appreciated. I am worried and exhausted and maybe something doesn't like me being happy and wants to destroy me?

Bill Tollefson (author) from Southwest Florida on February 08, 2012:

Thanks for your thoughts and comments. Hope the tips help you out to discover how your thoughts are helping or blocking you. You are welcome. Look at the Thought Addiction Assessment HUB. It might give more clarity.

Koralee Phillips from Vancouver British Columbia Canada on February 08, 2012:

Great hub! I have bookmarked it because I want study it further. I'm going to look into my thought patterns, and try out the tips for change. I am sure that my thought aren't perfect and want to get a hold of them now. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

Bill Tollefson (author) from Southwest Florida on October 18, 2011:

ostikay1234 - Thank you for reading this HUB and for your comment.

OSCAR BIMPONG from LONDON on October 18, 2011:

Very simple and straight to the point hub with a wealth of information.

Bill Tollefson (author) from Southwest Florida on July 28, 2011:

eddiecarra Thank you for your comment and understanding. We need to take more stock in what the content of our thoughts and what we can do to shift them.

Eddie Carrara from New Hampshire on July 28, 2011:

Nice hub Dr Bill, I think James Allen says it best in his book (As A Man Thinketh) “ All that man achieves and all that he fails to achieve is the direct result of his own thoughts.”

Bill Tollefson (author) from Southwest Florida on May 24, 2011:

Hey Elizabeth no you do not have to say them in the mirror. This list happens to Positive Life Statement and can be said anywhere all day long.

Elizabeth on May 23, 2011:

Hi, Dr Bill! Should these affirmations be said into the mirror to help "embed" them?

Thanks, and glad to see/hear you are doing well!


Lesleysherwood on May 21, 2011:

This is a fantastic hub. Thank you

Deborah Demander from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD on May 20, 2011:

Very helpful hub, indeed. I particularly like the fact that after you identify the problem, you offer a solution. I will seek out more of your work.


wysley on May 19, 2011:

Great article! I especially liked that you not only identified the common habitual thought patterns that a person might get stuck in, but then how to go about successfully changing that process-no matter how long it may have been going on, or ingrained it may be. We can actively and positively change how we think! It's an issue that a person may have to repeatedly refer back to, as old thinking patterns tend to come back especially during high periods of stress even when progress has been made. Great article I know I will refer back to often!

Donnacha C from Ennis, Co Clare, Republic of Ireland on May 18, 2011:

brilliant article! I will defenitely try your tips. thank you

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