In terms of habits, it would still be harmless. For example, "Today I will not think about cigarettes all day!" Or "Today I'm not always staring at my sexy colleague." - if we do it then, the consequences are still relatively manageable.
Anyone who suffers from sleep disorders and constantly says in bed in the evening "Now I do not think about my sleep problem, just sleep" - he will achieve exactly the opposite of it.
But even the most severe psychological diseases such as depression or anxiety disorders are often tried to be treated by breaking up existing patterns of thought.
Because the more one eintrichtert the patient "think best not to XY," the more powerfully hovers this very thought in her unconscious - and at some point even more free his way into consciousness.
The ironic stranglehold
The ironic processes are thus in our ironic hand, both on a small and a large scale. Therefore, be careful when solving problems that simply "suppress" a thought or action.
But if you want to gain more mental control, you can use the following two insights for your benefit: Firstly, the "focused distraction" helps. Define a very specific thing from the outset, which you always immediately think about when the "bad" thought comes up.
Of course, the idea of distraction should not come from the undesirable category: "Instead of black chocolate, I think of white chocolate now." It works better this way: chocolate = Eiffel Tower. This will at least avoid even heavier relapses.
On the other hand, the more capacity you have in your brain, the better your mental control. If you want to change a property, do not necessarily try it when your brain is otherwise busy.
Do not achieve the opposite
If you are particularly stressed at work, running in a marathon, or your partner or the jackhammer on the construction site next door just annoying, you risk not only that it will not work - so you would have nothing to lose.
You risk being able to do exactly the opposite of what you want: that you end up surfing the Internet more, eating more peanut flips, getting even more upset about your sister.
Take the pressure out
"It's not a good time to start the diet right now," so it's not just an excuse. At least not always. However, if you find that there is never a good time for something that you want to achieve, it may be worthwhile to start somewhere else:
At the stress sources, which at first glance do not really have anything to do with the property you want to get rid of. So we take the pressure out: Now think again of a purple cow. All day long.
- Wegner, DM, Schneider, DJ, Carter, SR, White, TL (1987): Paradoxical Effects of Thoughts Suppression. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 53, 5 - 13.
- Wegner, DM, Ansfield, M., Pilloff, D. (1998): The Putt and the Pendulum: Ironic Effects of the Mental Control of Action. Psychological Science, 9, 196 - 199.
- Erskine, JAK, Georgiou, G., Kvavilashvili, L. (2010): I Suppress Therefore I Smoke: The Effects of Thought Suppression on Smoking Behavior. Psychological Science, 21, 1225 - 1230.
- Erskine, JAK (2008): Resistance Can Be Futile: Investigating Behavioral Rebound. Appetite, 50, 415 - 421.
- Wenzlaff, RM, Wegner, DM, Roper, DW (1988): Depression and Mental Control: The Resurgence of Unwanted Negative Thoughts. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 55, 882 - 892.
- Ansfield, ME, Wegner, DM, Bowser, R. (1996): Ironic Effects of Sleep Urgency. Behavior Research and Therapy, 34, 523 - 531.
- Wegner, DM (1994): Ironic Processes of Mental Control. Psychological Review, 101, 34 - 52.
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