How do you get someone to think about a pink elephant? Just tell them not to think about one.
Perhaps you've heard of this classic psychological thought experiment that illustrates the impracticality of simply suppressing unwanted thoughts. If not, give it a go. Attempt not to think of a pink elephant for a few minutes and see just how often Dumbo keeps popping into your head.
The same thing happens every time you remind yourself to stop stressing about your business or worrying about professional or social failure. The more you resist a thought, the more power you give it. But if trying to mentally muscle your way past negative thoughts doesn't work, what does?
Psychology, it turns out, doesn't just have a handy thought experiment to illuminate the problem, but also several suggested solutions. PsyBlog recently rounded up a long list of them culled from a journal article on the subject (though the post notes that some of these ideas are only supported by preliminary studies and require more research). If you're plagued by doubts and stresses, stop trying to white knuckle your way through them and give these alternate approaches a try. Continue reading.
Originally posted on Inc.com.