Study shows how to throw away negative thoughts

Saturday, December 22, 2012 by: Seppo
Tags: negative thoughts, experiments, positivity

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(NaturalNews) In the midst of all the insecurities humanity is facing these days the question begs to be asked: 'How do we avoid thinking of all this negativity?' It would seem that it is almost impossible to avoid negative thinking; however, according to a recent study, there is a simple way. The study carried out at Universidad Autonoma de Madrid in Spain, by researchers, Pablo Brinol, Margarita Gasco, Javier Horcajo and Richard Petty explored the theory that when people write their thoughts down on paper and then discard or keep that paper, they mentally discard or strengthen the thoughts at the same time.

There are already several methods employed by psychologists who encourage patients to discard their negative thoughts in some way but one of the researchers, Richard Petty, professor of psychology at Ohio State University, said that as far as he was aware, this was the first study that actually validated the approach. The idea that thoughts can be discarded or protected as though they were material objects might seem a little farfetched to some but the results speak for themselves.

"At some level, it can sound silly. But we found that it really works-by physically throwing away or protecting your thoughts, you influence how you end up using those thoughts. Merely imagining engaging in these actions has no effect."

The study, which was split into three related experiments involved Spanish high school students. In the first experiment participants were given three minutes to write down positive and negative thoughts about their bodies. Once they had done that, researchers then asked half the students to throw their thoughts in the trash and the other half to correct their thoughts for grammar and spelling errors. According to Petty, students who threw their thoughts away no longer considered the thoughts, whether they were negative or positive:

"When they threw their thoughts away, they didn't consider them anymore, whether they were positive or negative," Petty said.

Interestingly, students who simply corrected their thoughts were influenced by them later when rating their bodies, whether those thoughts were positive or negative. So from the first experiment alone, the researchers were able to distinguish a clear difference between the two groups and back up what they had already suspected - thoughts become stronger or weaker depending on what you do with them in a physical sense.

Food for thought

It is the second experiment carried out by the research team that really provides food for 'thought' as the results are surprising and offer hope for those plagued by negative thinking.

In the second experiment, students were asked to once again write their negative and positive thoughts, this time on something that most people believe is healthy - the Mediterranean diet. Some students were told to place the paper on which the thoughts were written in their wallets or pockets while others threw them away. The students were then asked to rate the diet and whether they would use it themselves. Those students who had kept the thoughts with them were once again, clearly influenced and rated the diet either more positively or negatively depending on what they had written.

"This suggests you can magnify your thoughts, and make them more important to you, by keeping them with you in your wallet or purse," Petty said.

This is definitely food for thought for all those who might entertain negative thinking, and something that should be looked into further. If simply throwing away a piece of paper with negative thoughts on it eradicates those thoughts or at least weakens them, the chance for happiness will be increased exponentially.

Sources for this article include:

About the author:
Seppo Puusa writes blog - the place for science-based advice about alternative and natural acne treatments. We all love natural solutions to health problems, but with so many different solutions out there it can be hard to know what really works. That's where comes in. I scour the scientific literature and report back to you.

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