Breaking thought patterns with Mind Control: Take the pressure off!


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Text comes from: Warum uns das Denken nicht in den Kopf will: Noch mehr nützliche Erkenntnisse der Alltagspsychologie (2013) by Dr. Volker Kitz, Prof. Dr. Manuel Tusch, published by Heyne Verlag, Reprints by friendly permission of the publisher.
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We should not and absolutely do not want to think about something - and that is precisely why we constantly think about it all the time. This is not only impractical when it comes to getting rid of annoying-cherished habits.

ironic-processes

Here writes for you:

 

Prof. Dr. Manuel TuschDr. Manuel Tusch Professor at the Münster University of Applied Sciences and director of the IfAP.

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Dr. Volker Kitz fawnDr. Volker Kitz is Spiegel-Best-selling author, psychologist and ex-lobbyist.

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Bad habits

With the habits it would be harmless. For example, “Today I won't think about cigarettes all day!” or “Today I don’t keep staring at my sexy colleague’s back.” - if we do, the consequences are still relatively manageable.

Anyone who suffers from insomnia and keeps saying to himself in bed in the evening “Now I am not thinking about my sleep problem, I just sleep” - will achieve exactly the opposite of that. That's pretty sure.

Mental diseases

But one also tries to treat tangible mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety disorders by breaking up previous thought patterns. But that only works to a limited extent.

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Because the more you instill in the patient, “It's best not to think about XY”, the more powerfully this thought hovers in their unconscious - and at some point, the stronger its way into consciousness. With dire consequences.

The ironic stranglehold

The ironic processes have us firmly in their ironic hand, both small and large. So be careful if you want to solve problems by "suppressing" a thought or action.

If you want to gain more mental control over yourself, you can use the following two insights for yourself: First, the “focused distraction” helps. Determine a certain thing from the start, which you always think of immediately when the “bad” thought arises.

Avoid backfilling

Of course, the distracting thought should not come from the undesirable category: "Instead of black chocolate, I'm just thinking of white chocolate." It works better like this: Chocolate = Eiffel Tower. In this way you at least avoid more serious 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.

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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 dieting right now,” so it's not just an excuse. At least not always. However, if you find that it's never a good time for something you want to achieve, it can 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.

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