You are in the middle of your Spanish exam. Instead of remembering how to conjugate estar, worries are rattling around your head like maracas gone wild. Thoughts like, “I’ll never pass”, “Why didn’t I study harder?” and “I’ll never graduate” all clamor for your attention. How on earth are you going to conjugate estar with all of this nervous chatter in your head? Fortunately, there are techniques that can help qualm such runaway thoughts.
One method is the thought-stopping technique. Imagine a red and white stop sign with eight sides. Picture the word STOP in the middle of the octagon. Now imagine hearing the word “stop” out loud, either by you or someone else. This will draw your attention away from your racing thoughts, even if just for a second. This is a way of training your brain to regain control. If you return to your racing thoughts (which you likely will), that’s okay. Simply remember the word “stop” again. With practice, you will be able to regain control of your mind. And practice makes…perfecto!