Truth or Myth? You Can Tell Your Mind What NOT to Think

Myth! This is one that you can easily test out on yourself. Social Psychologist Daniel Wegner and his colleagues began this experiment back in 1987 when they asked participants to simply not think about the white bear while they verbalized their stream of consciousness (said what they were thinking out loud) for five minutes. If a white bear came to mind, he told them to ring a bell. This experiment quickly became known as the white bear phenomenon as they discovered that by trying not to think of something, we actually continually think it.

While you can not tell your mind what not to think, the opposite holds true. You can tell your mind what to think. So, the next time a negative thought comes into your mind, instead of telling your mind NOT to think it, tell your mind what TO think about. You will see that while you may not hold the power to tell your mind what not to think, you can redirect your thoughts. You cannot control every thought that comes into your mind just like you can’t control if a bird lands on your head. However, you can prevent him from making a nest.

Interested in finding out more ways that you can handle negative thoughts? Check out

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