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Nagging, repetitive thoughts are the engine for music like Selena Gomez’s, “Back To You” and movies like Jason Segel’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Once the pesky feelings start, they’re hard to stop, and suppressing them just exacerbates the problem.
Instead of rejecting thoughts after they arrive, we can prevent them from getting there in the first place.
Reactive control can be particularly problematic because thoughts are self-reinforcing. People can partially preempt this process if they want to ensure that this thought comes to mind as little as possible.
Although people could not avoid unwanted thoughts, they could ensure that thinking about an unwanted thought does not increase the probability of it coming to mind again.
Fighting your mind’s natural associations could help you win a game of Taboo or prevent you from dwelling on a harsh breakup whenever you hear a crooning Taylor Swift song.
some psychiatric diseases inhibit a person’s ability to control intrusive thoughts. The experiments and models could highlight the neural pathways that hinder thought control in clinically diagnosed patients.
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Managing intrusive thoughts - Harvard Health
Why Do We Have Intrusive Thoughts?
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