Delusion might be the solution: Study reveals negative thoughts are better suppressed
Sometimes, the best thing for you is not to think about bad experiences.
Suppression occurs when a person acknowledges the presence of something unfavourable and consciously chooses not to dwell on it.
The study suggests that suppressing negative thoughts may not be harmful to a person's mental health. Researchers found that blocking these thoughts improved mental health and reduced their vividness. Professor Michael Anderson from Cambridge University argued that suppressing thoughts can make them less pervasive.
The study conducted during COVID-19 involved 120 people across 16 countries to test the benefits of suppressing fearful thoughts.
Participants were asked to imagine 20 negative fears, 20 positive hopes, and 36 mundane and neutral events in the next two years.
Participants were then given a scenario and a cue word to remind them of it. Half of the participants were instructed to stare at one of their negative words for a few seconds, acknowledging the fear but blocking any other thoughts.
The other half of the participants were assigned the same assignment with neutral words, and the exercise was repeated 12 times daily for three days.
The exercise was repeated 12 times per day for three days. The results showed that suppressing negative thoughts reduced the vividness of the fears and improved mental health compared to suppressing neutral thoughts. The findings were confirmed three months later.
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