Use This Technique To Tackle Anxious Thoughts


Anxious thoughts are a common phenomenon for millions across the world. These negative thoughts can be further exacerbated with eczema. Often the uncertainty and worried anticipation of a future flare can lead to these thoughts appearing.

Often, these worries about the future are unfounded and only serve to exacerbate our stress levels. In turn, this can increase our risk of a flare-up. In addition, if we allow these worries to build up frequently, they begin to seep into our minds and can eventually lead to anxiety.

The Stopp Tool

But several methods can help re-wire our brain patterns and prevent or reverse the damage caused by these thoughts. One such technique is the STOPP tool. It’s designed to be used whenever a negative thought pops up. Here’s what it stands for:

S - Stop. As soon as you notice a negative thought, stop. It’s an essential part of the process to allow you to continue using the tool.

T - Take A Deep Breath. This helps to prevent the surge of stress chemicals in the body and gives you a chance to detach from the situation.

O - Observe. Gently observe the situation from afar. Try to imagine that you’re watching someone else having a negative thought.

P - Perspective. Now that you’ve allowed yourself to relax and observe, it’s time to put things into perspective. Evaluate the thought that you had. Is it actually true? How likely is it to happen on a scale of 1 to 10? Can you think of reasons why it isn’t true?

P - Practice. The final step is to practice this skill regularly. Similar to a muscle, breaking these thought patterns is only strengthened with regular practice.


So the next time you’re faced with a difficult situation or a negative thought, remember to use the STOPP tool. It’s frequently used in clinical medicine and has proved to be effective at reducing stress.

Here’s the process summarised again:

S - Stop.

T - Take A Deep Breath.

O - Observe.

P - Perspective.

P - Practice.

August 1, 2022
Dr Noreen Akram
Proton Health Programme
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