Brain retrainers: Alternative phrases for “Stop, stop, stop!”

by Julie Genser

Stop, stop, stop!Those working hard to heal from chemical sensitivity, electrical sensitivity, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and related limbic system impairment syndromes through brain retraining programs such as Annie Hopper’s Dynamic Neural Retraining System™ (DNRS™) and Ashok Gupta’s Amygdala Retraining™ Programme may not be completely comfortable repeating the phrase “Stop, stop, stop!” as part of the neuro linguistic programming (NLP) aspect of those programs. For some, “Stop, stop, stop!” feels too aggressive, and stimulates their fight or flight response – exactly the opposite intended effect. For others, the phrase just doesn’t provide enough oomph to divert them away from a trauma loop thought pattern. What to do?! A group of committed brain retrainers from Planet Thrive’s Gupta Support Group have compiled a list of alternative phrases to offer some options to those who prefer not to use the suggested “Stop, stop, stop!” phrase of these powerful brain retraining programs. Now, we haven’t run these phrases by Ashok or Annie so they are not official replacements. But for those who are interested in fine-tuning the programs to their own preferences, this list should provide ample inspiration. A special shout out to Sue and Susi for their extra efforts to compile this list so that it could be shared with a wider audience.

GENTLE ALTERNATIVES
These may be helpful when you’re particularly upset or anxious, when you’re trauma-activated or in a PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) state, or when your central nervous system is over-stimulated due to electromagnetic fields or other environmental exposures.

Calm, calm, calm

Shh, shh, shh

Relax, relax, relax

Thanks, thanks, thanks

Shh. It’s ok. I’m safe (or all is well).

Thank you limbic system, now let’s refocus.


HUMOROUS ALTERNATIVES

Whoa, Nelly!

Stope, stope, stope! (“Stop” said with a British accent, like Ashok.)

Schtope, schtope, schtope! (Adding some German.)

Give it up [insert your last name]!

Stop, in the name of love! (Sung to the tune of the Temptations song, with accompanying hand and hip motions.)

Down, down, down! (Said in same tone as when a dog jumps up on you.)

Sst, sst, sst! (Done with a 2-finger poke to the neck a la Cesar Milan’s dog training technique.)

Stoppity, stoppity, stoppity!

Stop it! See Bob Newhart’s psychotherapy advice in below video:


ADDITIONAL SUGGESTIONS

Hey, hey, hey…wait a minute!

Halt, halt, halt!

Visualize pushing panicky feelings and symptoms away from you.

Use Bach flower remedies to help restore a sense of safety.

Focus (or become aware), then refocus with joy.

Include relabeling: Remind yourself that the amygdala is misfiring, remind yourself that responding with calmness and joy will stop the misfiring.

Physically STOP what you are doing.

Do it with fun! Releasing dopamine, the joy hormone, stops the amygdala firing.

Use the tools of meditation, where you become aware of a negative thought, label it, and then return your awareness to the breath (or other anchor).

Whoops!

Whoops – come back here! (You just went down the slippery slope.)

Cancel, cancel, cancel!

Delete, delete, delete!

Erase, erase, erase!

Stopstopstop!

Bullshit!

Is it true?…Is it REALLY true? (Byron Katie)

I’ll be fine!

Do it anyway! (re: “I can’t” thoughts.)

It’s just life! (Said by a 14-yr-old CF patient and motivational speaker, in response to complaining about the state of one’s life.)

Wearing a rubber band on your wrist and giving it a gentle snap each time you have a negative thought.

I don’t need this anymore!


GENTLE WAYS TO TALK TO YOUR AMYGDALA WHEN IT’S MISFIRING
Particularly good for the same situations as described above.

Said in a calm, soothing voice:

“Amygdala, it’s ok to relax, relax, relax.”

“It’s ok to take a break from ________.”

“It’s ok to stop.”

“It’s ok to choose another track…it’s safe now. We aren’t in the same situation as before…it’s ok to try something new.”

“We can change gears now…_______, _______, _______.”

“Hey there amygdala, thanks for all you do to keep me safe, now you can relax, relax, relax.”

“It’s ok to go off high alert…Thanks for all you’ve done to assure my safety in the past, now I want to partner with you. I’ll be keeping watch out with you now so we aren’t put in dangerous situations. You had the job alone…now I want to come alongside you.”

“Amygdala, thanks, thanks, thanks for trying to keep us safe…now it’s ok to relax, relax, relax…You can take a break, I’ll fill in for you.”

“Amygdala, thank you for working so hard to try to protect me. Let me take over now.”

“Amygdala, you were doing this protection work all alone, but you have help now, let me take over.”

See your amygdala as a niece or small child that you would never be mean to or frustrated with.

See what visions come to you, about your amygdala, about what sort of character or animal or symbol represents your amygdala or its states or actions.

See how your amygdala is represented in your dreams.

Hold yourself, or imagine holding yourself or your amygdala. Say these soothing words to yourself or your amygdala:

“Shh, shh, shh, it’s ok, it’s ok, it’s ok…we’re safe now…I’m here to help. We’re in this together now…When I was little I couldn’t contribute, I had to rely on you; but now I am grown and can actually help. Thank you for all you’ve done all these years.” (Allow for any healing release of suppressed emotion.)

When you feel stern, annoyed, or frustrated with your thought habits or amygdala firing, then a change toward more gentleness and compassion seems really important.

Thanks again to Sue, Susi, and the rest of the brain retraining crew over at the Planet Thrive community for compiling this wonderful list!

photo: © Andre Blais | Dreamstime.com

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Comments (7)

CarrieMay 7th, 2012 at 11:37 am

thank you so much for this article!! it is very helpful to see the different ways people use the brain retraining to work with their specific needs.

T-CanMay 7th, 2012 at 8:07 pm

Great article, Julie. I had a problem with the “stop stop stop” wording myself after the first few months of brain retraining. I ended up leaving out that first step completely, but these are some really good alternatives for people. I really like the more positive ones, “calm calm calm” etc. Just saying “Peace” would be good also.

[…] Personality • Highly Sensitive Personality Traits • A Gentle Method of Tapping (TAB)  • Alternate phrases to NO! or STOP! • Music to Realign and Balance Yourself • Positive Thinking Meditational Music • Facing […]

sharmanSeptember 24th, 2012 at 10:12 pm

Chill, Lassie.

No one fell down the well.

Timmie’s in the kitchen sipping cocoa.

Good girl.

RobOctober 30th, 2012 at 11:11 am

If I had gone to Bob Newhart’s “Stop It” psychotherapy 50+ years ago, everything would be SO much easier.

JulieOctober 12th, 2014 at 9:23 pm

Sharman, that is so cute. I am just reading your comment over 2 years later!!

JulieOctober 12th, 2014 at 9:23 pm

Rob, you make me laugh. LOL. ;-)

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