The Switch-Off

This can be used whenever you have internal thoughts plaguing you. 

Some people need to practice it while others find it works straight-away.

Whenever you find yourself having those energy-sapping thoughts that go round and round in your head do one of these three things for roughly 2 minutes:

  • Focus on looking at items in the room. As you look at them just note colour, size, shape, position etc. Do this silently in your head.  Do not think anything else about them…just what they look like.
  • Focus on an external sound. This could be the kettle boiling, a bird singing, the hum of lawn-mower. There may be several sounds you can hear…focus on one at a time.  Again, silently in your head.
  • Focus on external sensations. The feel of a piece of furniture, the feel of the chair on your legs as you sit, the feel of your feet in your shoes.  All silently in your head for roughly 2 minutes.

Don’t worry if you find intrusive thoughts breaking through, just refocus and keep doing this until the negative thoughts leave you alone for a couple of minutes.

You can use this any time of the day or night.  During the day it will help to give your mind a rest from troublesome thoughts and refresh you making it easier to focus on your daily tasks.  At night it will send you off to sleep.  So it is great for when you are lying awake thinking endlessly about things you cannot do anything about right now.  Just focus on something you can hear or feel (you will have your eyes shut so looking isn’t possible) and you will drift off to sleep.  If you wake up and find those same thoughts looming large again just repeat the process. 

This link gives an explanation of the Default Mode Network in our brains:

Essentially processes like day-dreaming, going over our day, planning etc happen in the DMN.  Focussing on something gives the DMN a rest and enables us to come away from any negativity that our thinking might provoke.


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