Discover signs that indicate your fitness level may not be as high as you think. From heart rate to joint stiffness, find out how to enhance your well-being and boost confidence through an active lifestyle.
Well, as per a study, the notion that trying to repress negative thoughts is hazardous for our mental health may not be true.
Researchers at the University of Cambridge told 120 volunteers from 16 different nations to stifle their thoughts about traumatic experiences that disturbed them. They discovered that this not only made the individuals’ unpleasant ideas less vivid, but also improved their mental health.
According to Professor Michael Anderson of the university’s Medical Research Council (MRC) Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, “We’re all familiar with the Freudian idea that if we suppress our feelings or thoughts, then these thoughts remain in our unconscious, influencing our behaviour and well-being perniciously.”
The entire purpose of psychotherapy is to bring up these ideas so that they can be dealt with and stripped of their power. We’ve been told in more recent years that concealing thoughts is inherently unproductive and really makes individuals contemplate the thought more — it’s the old adage, “Don’t think about a pink elephant,” he added.
According to Anderson, these theories have established clinical treatment dogma, with national recommendations citing thought avoidance as a significant maladaptive coping mechanism that should be avoided and overcome in conditions including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), among others.
Inhibitory control, according to Dr. Zulkayda Mamat of Trinity College, Cambridge, is essential for overcoming trauma in both her own and many other people’s life experiences.
She was interested in learning whether this was a natural talent or a learned skill that could be taught.
“Due to the epidemic, we observed a need in the neighbourhood to support people in managing their escalating concern. A secret epidemic of mental health issues was already present, and it was only growing worse. In light of this, we made the decision to see whether we could aid people in coping better, according to Dr. Mamat.
Each participant in the study, which was published in Science Advances, was asked to consider a number of scenarios that could reasonably occur in their lives over the course of the next two years. These scenarios included 20 negative “fears and worries” they were concerned might occur, 20 positive “hopes and dreams,” and 36 ordinary and unremarkable neutral events.
The anxieties needed to be ones that currently trouble them and have frequently entered their thoughts. It was abundantly evident that the participants’ practise suppressing situations were less vivid and more anxiety-inducing than the other events, and that overall, their mental health had improved. But the participants who practised repressing anxious, as opposed to neutral, thoughts, showed the most benefit, according to Dr. Mamat.