1 Overcoming Negativity with the S.T.O.P! System Overcoming Negativity with the S.T.O.P! System Instantly increase confidence and boost self esteem by stopping negativity in its tracks F. A. Masters
Jul 19, 2016
1 Overcoming Negativity with the S.T.O.P! System
Overcoming Negativity with the S.T.O.P! System
Instantly increase confidence and boost self esteem by stopping negativity in its tracks
F. A. Masters
2 Overcoming Negativity with the S.T.O.P! System
Copyright 2013 Fusion Therapeutic Coaching Ltd.
All Rights Reserved
3 Overcoming Negativity with the S.T.O.P! System
FOREWORD: THE FUSION STORY Several years ago, Robert walked into my office. A design engineer by
trade, tall, intelligent and smartly dressed, he presented as a successful
businessman. However, he told a story of a life that was being destroyed by his own negative thinking. He felt that his life was moving nowhere, he lacked
self confidence, had trouble talking to women and was continuously
looked over for promotions at work.
All his negativity and self doubt had resulted in daily panic attacks. He
had been taken to hospital by ambulance on more than one occasion as
he felt sure he was having a heart attack. He'd been to multiple
therapists, life-coaches and counsellors, all of whom left him with
superficial, short-term improvements.
We worked together on that first session and he told me his goal was
simple: to just get through twenty-four hours without an attack. At that
time I'd been reading a lot of cutting-edge research in neuroplasticity and
decided to try something new.
I wanted to provide John the toolset he needed to literally rewire his brain. Let me be clear, I didn't mean this in a vague or abstract way. I wanted to help John to reorganize the neural pathways in his brain.
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Neuroplasticity: The Foundations of Fusion
It was once believed that as we aged, the brain's networks became
fixed. In the past two decades, however, an enormous amount of
research has revealed that the brain never stops changing and adapting.
An amazing example of this adaptability is the sea gypsies of Thailand, a
nomadic tribe who live all their lives on boats.
The children are taught to deep-sea dive for food at a very early age.
They have developed adaptive responses to their watery environment by
slowing their heart rates at will to stay down longer. Amazingly their
vision has also adapted to be able to see clearly up to a depth of thirty
The children of the sea gypsies have learned to change their pupillary
reflex, an extraordinary example of plasticity, showing clearly how the
brain and body can be moulded.
Neurons and synapses
Inside your brain are billions of neurons. They carry information,
communicate and connect through synapses forming internal pathways.
In this way patterns of behaviour, habits and thinking style develop. They
become the basis of our personality.
But they can be changed.
5 Overcoming Negativity with the S.T.O.P! System
If you think about a grassy field; the very first time you walk across it,
there is no pathway, yet when you look back, you can just about make
out where your feet have trodden.
If you walk across the grass again, you are able to follow your tracks and
the grass is more trodden down this time.
By the time you have walked down this track many times, you have
established a clear pathway.
The same thing happens in your brain. When you repeat a pattern of
behaviour, the connections get stronger. Like playing a musical
instrument, the first time you pick it up, it feels strange and unfamiliar
but, as you continue to practise and rehearse, you become more
competent. If you practise regularly, you become so proficient that you
can play without even thinking about it. You transfer it to a subconscious
process. It feels natural to play. You are in flow.
Once you have an established pathway, and once it has been used and
re-used thousands of times, a myelin sheath wraps around the
connections. Now you have not just a path or road, but a super highway.
The pattern of response is now fast, efficient and automatic.
The dark side of neuroplasticity
These pathways can be both good and bad. Positive patterns are worth
repeating but negative patterns, once established can feel difficult to
break. These are the addictions, negative thinking styles, drinking styles,
eating styles and life styles.
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If youve behaved in a certain way for a long time, the pathway is
certainly well embedded.
Yet, neuroscience has shown us that the brain can be rewired and new,
more helpful patterns of thought and behaviour can be established.
Two weeks later he returned a entirely different person. He hadn't had
one attack since we last met, seemed more confident, happy and
focused on the goals he now felt able to achieve. He and I were amazed
at the progress he'd made, and I decided to expand on the tools I'd used
to help him.
The result was The Fusion Model, a combination of the most powerful tools available to help reprogram your brain for incerdible success About Frances Masters. MBACP (accred) GHGI. FRTC
Frances Masters is a BACP accredited psychotherapist with over
30,000 client hours of experience. She's also a certified life-coach, and
has helped thousands of people from all walks of life achieve goals big
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OVERCOME NEGATIVE THINKING WITH THE S.T.O.P SYSTEM
'Happiness is an attitude. We either make
ourselves miserable, or happy and strong. The amount of work is the same.'
Some people never seem to be happy David was like that. 'It's like someone up there has got it in for me' he
Even when everything was going right, David would squash any positive
feelings with 'It's all going too well, you never know what's around the
It was like he was trying to protect himself in some way by having
negative expectations, deliberately setting the bar low.
As a consequence, David walked around with a personal cloud over his
head and was constantly in a fight with depression. Many people gave
him a wide berth. He was simply too negative to be around.
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If you've been down for a long time, you might think that's just the way
you are. Perhaps negativity or depression 'runs in the family'. Perhaps
you think it's in your DNA?
However, you'll be pleased to hear that, despite ten years of research
and billions of pounds and dollars of investment they still have found no
biomarkers for depressive thinking.
This is good news for anyone who wants to change his or her thinking
style. If negativity is not in your genes, then there must be a way of
resolving it, no matter how long you've had it:
'The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is today.'
It's never too late to start thinking positively.
The way you think is critically linked to the way you feel. It's not
uncommon for people to have 'thinking errors' as the originator of
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy observed;
'If aliens landed right now and realised how human beings think, they'd fall off their seats
laughing.' -Aaron Beck*
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If you get a headache, do you think it's a brain tumour? If you take a
plane to go on holiday, do you imagine it's going to crash and everyone
will be killed?
Do you run scary films in your head? If you are the kind of person who goes from A-Z missing out all the
letters in between, then you have a classical thinking error.
You are a 'catastrophiser' and misusing your powerful human imagination. That alone can result in low mood and eventual depression.
If you've been fighting negative thinking for too long, it's time to make
some changes. The definition of madness after all is to keep doing what
you've away done and expect something different to happen!
How does the S.T.O.P! System work? S.T.O.P! is a way of breaking negative or unhelpful patterns of response which have become embedded in your brain's neural network.
Throughout life, we learn ways of acting and thinking in response to our
environment. We construct 'internal maps' to navigate the world we find ourselves in.
However, those maps are often inaccurate and sometimes downright
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Your brain receives information via all the senses of your body; hearing,
sight, touch, smell and taste.
But the senses are merely the waiters who bring the feast to the table.
Your internal experience can never be the reality, just your interpretation
There are many systems around who use motivation and visualisation
techniques. They can help for a short time. They work by giving people a
lift and encouraging them to feel more positive.
You can reclaim your life from negative thinking with S.T.O.P!
Slow breathe Take a step back Observe and scale Positive mental rehearsal
#1. S.T.O.P! Ever noticed how a red light stops you in your tracks?
Much of your life is spent on autopilot. You run software in your head,
which takes care of most of your day-to-day activities.
As a result, you can go through a whole day simply reacting to situations using progammes based on previous conditioning and prior
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But, what if you could S.T.O.P! and bring your self to awareness?
Rather than simply and mindlessly react to situations, you can now
choose a more helpful response.
For people caught up in a mindless loop of negative thinking, S.T.O.P! presents an opportunity to interrupt that old habitual pattern and run
different soft ware to generate new neural pathways and new patterns of
Even though neuroscience tells us we are procession around four
hundred billion pieces of information subconsciously, you can only think
one conscious thought at a time.
S.T.O.P! buys you the time to consciously replace those old unhelpful thoughts and beliefs with new, life enhancing self statements.
Many negative thinking patterns are generated by the emotional
This silent right brain hemisphere has no language. It is an older part of
your brain and understands the world through instincts, emotions,
images and concepts.
As soon as you say S.T.O.P! you bring yourself to conscious awareness. You now have an opportunity to choose your thought and
choose your response.
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'If you can change your mind, you can change your life.' William James
#2. Slow breathe
Once you've interrupted automatic reactions with S.T.O.P!, Step 2 involves slowing down the breathe with a powerful parasympathetic
breathing technique where the out breath is longer than the in breath.
This stimulates the innate relaxation response which calms both the
body and the mind.
This breathing technique is the gateway to advanced meditation and the
elusive alpha-theta brain state.
Alpha brain waves are associated with deep relaxation and theta waves
allow for accelerated learning.
When you slow the breath and count the breath, you neutralise
emotional hijacking. Your rational left hemisphere is now running the
This is an ideal brain state for taking back control of both thoughts and
From the logical left hemisphere, you will now notice you have a choice.
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'No one can make you feel bad without your permission.' -Eleanor Roosevelt
#3. Take a step back
Your extraordinary human brain has the unique ability to shift perception;
to see things from another point of view; to step back from itself and
become an observer of both thought and action.
When you think and act consciously, you are in your 'executive brain.'
If your life were a soap opera, the executive brain would be both the
script writer and the director.
Real psychological health is achieved when you have learned to
associate and dissociate at will; to connect with emotion when it is
helpful but to step back when emotional thinking threatens your calm
and cool judgement.
Learning to 'step back' from an old unhelpful automatic and conditioned
internal dialogue now gives you the opportunity to rewrite the script!
'Do you think your thoughts, or do you allow your thoughts to think you?
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#4. Observe and scale
Having stepped back from emotional hijacking and automatic thinking,
you are now in what Dr Arthur Deikman* referred to as 'the observing self.'
The executive brain and observing self allow you to access rational and
logical strategies such as noticing and scaling your own level of anxiety,
anger, despair, or any of the powerful human emotions which can cloud
your judgement, thoughts and actions.
From your observing self, notice what your internal dialogue is and what
effect that has on how you feel, both physically and emotionally. Notice
how that affects your behaviour.
Example 1. Negative Automatic Thought:
'I'm fat, ugly and stupid. Who will be bothered to talk to me at the office
party? I'll end up standing on my own feeling awkward....as usual!'
Result? Go to the party, look unhappy or defensive with lots of negative
body language which others detect, so they give you a wide berth. Your
negative internal dialogue is now confirmed. 'I told you so.' it says.
Example 2. Positive Conscious Thought;
'I'm looking good in this new outfit. I'm really looking forward to the party.
It's a good opportunity to get to know the people at work in a relaxed
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setting. If I can't think of anything interesting to say, I'll be a good listener
and ask lots of questions.'
Result? Walk in looking happy and approachable, making eye contact as
you search out new people to get to know. The other people at the party
now perceive you as warm and approachable.
Your positive expectation is reinforced. The next party will be easier.
#5. Positive mental rehearsal
This is where the fun starts.
Recent developments in neuroscience now confirm that your human
brain is a reality generator. Your brain and your body do not know the
difference between something you vividly imagine and something you
Think about it. Think of all the possibilities of using your reality generator
to really help you be your best, feel your best and live your best life?
Example 1. Close your eyes and think of a lemon. See its bright yellow
skin. In your imagination, cut it open and smell the sharp citrus aroma.
Is your mouth watering?
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Close your eyes and think of an embarrassing situation. Perhaps you've
gone out wearing odd socks or had a coughing fit in the middle of a
Do your palms feel sweaty or your stomach feel tight, or have you gone
a bit red in the face?
Australian Psychologist Alan Richardson* took a group of basketball
players and divided them into three groups.
He scaled each player's ability to make free throws, then suggested:
Group A should practise for twenty minutes a day
Group B should visualise themselves making free throws every day
Group C should neither practise nor visualise.
The results were extraordinary. After the designated twenty days were
up, group C had not improved but group B had improved almost as
much as group A - by 23 and 24%!
In other words, there was little difference between those who had
physically practised and those who had just used positive mental
As an accredited psychotherapist and coach, I constantly use advanced
visualisation techniques with my clients to accelerate improved well
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being, make positive life changes and move them quickly towards their
Playing a movie in your head
Every time you repeat a behaviour or thought pattern, your embed a
neural pathway on your brain.
A bit like walking across a grassy field. The first time you cross it there is
no path, but when your turn and look back, you can just make out where
your feet have trodden.
When you cross the field again, you can retrace your previous foot
By the time you have crossed that field a few thousand times, you have
worn the grass down to the mud and you have an established path.
The same thing happens in your brain.
The more you repeat an action, or think a negative thought, the more
you embed those connections between your neurons and synapses.
You are creating a neural pathway. By the time you have repeated that
action or that internal script a thousand times, a myelin sheath develops
around the connections and you now have a super highway, which
allows faster automatic reaction.
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'Ive had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened'
Here's the great news.
Because your brain is neuroplastic, you can create new pathways and
new patterns of response.
You can generate a different thinking style and, when you stop going
down that old path, the grass grows up over it.
Simply put, this is the essence of neuroplasticity. If you positively
mentally rehearse a new internal dialogue and new patterns of
response, you will genuinely be rewiring your own brain.
So, instead of running the old negative programme, you can now upload
your own improved software in your own time and from the comfort of
your office chair.
Close your eyes, slow your breathing and imagine being in a peaceful
Think of something positive you can use as a personal mantra or
affirmation such as 'Yes I can' or 'I just say yes to life.'
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Imagine you've been asleep and, during the night, something magical
has happened. Your negative thinking has disappeared. You wake up in
the morning feeling energetic, confident and positive about the day
Notice what's different. What are you doing differently? How do those
around you react?
How does it feel to be living this way? How does it feel to be thinking this
Repeat this exercise before you go to sleep at night. Wake up with
positive expectation in the morning.
If, at any point during the day, you notice negativity creeping back in,
simply say to yourself S.T.O.P!
Slow your breathing down, mentally step back from the automatic
thought and choose a more helpful statement or response.
Have your positive affirmation ready for use.
The more you use it, the faster the new neural pathway will embed. People in the know understand the power of advanced visualisation
techniques. Back in the 1980s, Jim Carrey wrote himself a cheque for
ten million dollars, long before he ever made a movie.
The principle is simple:
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Neuroscientists tell us that, due to the nature of our brain filter, the
Reticular Activating System, what you focus on is what you get.
Through using S.T.O.P! youll learn that theres no such thing as an idle thought.
You have simply been too tolerant of your minds trance like automatic
thoughts for too long. But negative thinking is nothing more than a bad
habit. And like any bad habit, it can be changed with conscious and
Use S.T.O.P! to practice conscious, moment by-moment awareness.
Don't run your life on old assumptions, rules and beliefs you 'learned' as
a child. You don't want that inner child to be controlling your life do you?
S.T.O.P! will release you from the prison of your illusions. The good news is you can change your behaviour.
All you have to do is change your mind!
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