The man is not always able to control the flight of his thoughts.
Leo Tolstoy in "Memories" wrote on the game invented by his brother Nicholas. The idea was to "to stand in the corner and not think about a white bear."
This task, according to the writer, was incredibly difficult: "I Remember I was in a corner and tried, but could not not think about a white bear."
More than a century later, social psychologist Daniel Weiner confirmed the existence of this phenomenon experimentally. Volunteers were asked to try not to think about a white bear, and none of them was able to cope with the task. In the second part of the experiment, Wayner, in contrast, asked participants to think about a white bear as much as possible:.
It turned out that the group who tried in the beginning to suppress thoughts of a white bear, now able much longer to hold the attention, imagining the animal in great detail in comparison with a control group who skipped the stage of suppression of thoughts about it.Weiner came to the conclusion that the suppression of certain thoughts leads to the opposite result — the formation of "obsessions and capture them."
Thoughts about polar bears, even obsessive, seem innocent. However, says Weiner, the opposite effect can be quite dangerous to humans, which for a long time can not get rid of thoughts on the painful or sad for him topic.
The psychologist believes that, ironically, our brain is trying to suppress any thought that keeps coming back to her to double check and make sure that we don't really want to think about it. As a result, we think about the forbidden subject even more.
In addition,attempts struggling to control your thoughts (to suppress them or, alternatively, keep on performing any mental tasks) require certain domestic resources, which we have not so much.
"When you have made every effort to control your thoughts, you engage the mental resources that are being rapidly depleted, and you are bound to lose control over the thought process," — says the psychologist of the National Taiwan University Yun-Wen lien.Lien compared two methods of getting rid of unwanted thoughts — a renewed focus on the rhythm of breathing and a different visual image.
Both of these methods were proposed by Wayner in 2011, but their effectiveness still has not been compared.
In their experiment, lien and his colleagues divided the 82 volunteer students into two groups. One group was trained to focus on the breath, and the other to focus on a mental image of a blue sports car.
Then the researchers asked the students either to think only about the car, or watch your breath for three minutes. At every attempt of consciousness to be distracted by anything extraneous, the students had to press the button.
During the second task, volunteers watched a short video with the polar bears, after which they asked for five minutes to think about these animals, focusing on the breath or a blue car. And again, the students had to press a button every time the thoughts came back to the polar bear.
At the end of researched and also assessed the working memory of each of the participants, asking them to remember a sequence of letters or solve simple mathematical equations.
The results showed that both strategies work, but focusing on the breath has proven to be more effective, perhaps because it requires less effort than creating an alternative visual image.
P. S. And remember, just changing your mind — together we change the world! ©
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