Is it possible to get rid of unwanted thoughts? Short answer: maybe. But doing so in the long-term is more complicated.
According to informants quoted by live newsAfter a breakup, you might think you’re okay until you pass a memorable street corner, come across a mutual friend, or hear a certain love song on the radio. No matter how much you want to stop thinking about your ex. Anything that reminds you of your relationship. As seen in “Kachchala Manasina Chirantana Suryakanti”, is it possible to erase unwanted thoughts as well as bits of memory? Short answer: maybe. But doing so in the long-term is more complicated.
Joshua Magee, a clinical psychologist and founder of Pathway to Health Therapy who has researched unwanted thoughts, images, and impulses in mental disorders, believes that people’s thoughts are less focused and less controlled than most people think. In a famous 1996 study published in the journal Cognitive Interaction, author Eric Klinger, professor of psychology at the University of Minnesota, tracked study participants all of their thoughts throughout the day. On average, people report more than 4,000 personal thoughts per day. These thoughts were fleeting, lasting no more than five seconds on average.
“Ideas are constantly flowing and most of us don’t even realize it,” says Magee. In a 1996 study, a third of ideas seemed to come entirely from outside. According to Maggie, it is normal to experience thoughts that cause us distress. In another study conducted by Klinger and others in 1987, people found 22 percent of their thoughts to be strange, unreasonable, or wrong. For example, you can imagine that you are cooking and cut your finger. Or when you carry your baby to bed, the baby falls from your hand on the floor.
In some cases, it makes sense to suppress these unwanted thoughts. For example, in a test or interview, you don’t want to be distracted by the idea that you are going to fail. On a plane, you probably don’t want to think about breaking up, and according to Maggie, there’s evidence that these thoughts can be negated.
In a 2022 study published in the journal PLOS Computational Biology, a group of researchers showed that 80 volunteers were paid to participate in an experiment, which is a series of slides with different words written on it. Each name was repeated in five different slides. Participants in this research typed the word associated with each name while viewing these slides. For example, the word road is written in relation to the word car. The researchers told one group that they would not be paid for repeating words. The other group can repeat the names as many times as they like. With this method, the researchers tried to simulate what happens when a person listens to a romantic song on the radio and desperately tries not to think of anything but their ex.
The results showed that when participants saw each name a second time, they needed more time to create the new association than the control group. For example, using the word tire instead of the word road. That is, the same first word comes to their mind first and then they replace it with a new word. People took longer to respond, especially to words they had previously rated as “highly related.” Of course, participants responded faster every time they saw the same repeated slide, which means that their association between the keyword and their first response (the idea they were trying to avoid) was weak.
In this regard, psychologist and senior author of the paper Isaac Fradkin said: We found no evidence that people can avoid unwanted thoughts completely. He is now a member of the Center for Research in Computational Psychiatry and Aging at Max Planck University College London, and continued: “The results show that exercise can help people avoid a certain thought.”
As Medical News Today reports, not everyone agrees that a slide show of random words isn’t the best way to show people how emotionally charged thoughts are suppressed. Other research shows that avoiding thoughts can be counterproductive. Maggie said about this: When we suppress an idea, we send a message to our brain. This effort describes thought as something to be feared. “Essentially, by trying to control these thoughts, we are strengthening them,” Maggie continued.
A 2020 analysis of 31 different thought suppression studies, published in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science, shows that thought suppression works in the short term. Participants successfully suppress their thoughts, but the idea they avoid often comes to mind after the task is over.
“Ultimately, it makes more sense to consciously approach unwanted thoughts and wait for them to go away rather than avoid them,” Fradkin says. Thousands of other thoughts cross your mind every day. We can leave these thoughts in our minds, not stress them out and try not to fight them.”
end of message /