Penning down negative thoughts gets rid of them
Here's how you can get rid of unwanted, negative thoughts -- just pen them down and toss them away.
"However you tag your thoughts -- as trash or as worthy of protection -- seems to make a difference in how you use those thoughts," said Richard Petty, psychology professor at Ohio State University and co-author of a recent study on the subject.
Some types of psychological therapy use variations of this concept by trying to get patients to discard their negative thoughts, reports the journal Psychological Science.
Petty said the study is the first to validate the approach that people can treat their thoughts as material, concrete objects. That is evident in the language we use, added Petty, according to an Ohio statement.
"We talk about our thoughts as if we can visualize them. We hold our thoughts. We take stances on issues, we lean this way or that way. This all makes our thoughts more real to us," said Petty.
Petty conducted the research with Pablo Brinol, Margarita Gasco and Javier Horcajo, all of the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid in Spain. He based these findings on three related experiments.
Results showed that for those who kept their thoughts and checked them for mistakes, it mattered whether they generated positive or negative thoughts about their bodies.