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Creating Psychological Distance

Creating Psychological Distance

Many of us have been in a situation where our emotions prevent us from responding appropriately and seeing the big picture. For example, in cases where we feel extreme anger, stress, anxiety, and sadness.

The best way to handle these emotionally charged situations is to step away to create psychological distance between you and the situation.

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MORE IDEAS FROM THE SAME ARTICLE

  • Time: We think differently about events that are far in the future, compared to activities in the near future. For events in the distant future, we use abstract terms that lack concrete action.
  • Space: We use abstract terms to describe events within...

In an emotionally charged situation, for example, an argument, take a break for 15 minutes or physically leave the space, such as taking a walk.

By stepping out of the situation, you can disrupt the immediate intention and reframe the situation.

  • Self distancing allows us to gain perspective. By creating space, we can reframe the situation in more abstract terms.
  • In turn, it will enable us to respond appropriately. Our response is then not directed towards the exact event, but instead take...

The executive functioning also allows us to perform the following processes important for psychological distancing.

  • Shifting: The ability to redirect our attention to another aspect of a problem, or from one item to another.
  • Response inhibition:

When you find yourself in an emotionally charged situation or that your behavior is not helpful, such as procrastinating, imagine yourself in the future looking back and observing your current behavior.

This allows you to look at the current event and its consequences in a broader context....

In an emotionally charged situation, try to imagine watching yourself from a distance. Ask yourself, "what you would think of someone else's behavior is you saw them in the same situation?"

By changing the focus to a third-person view, you can stop some of the immedi...

Executive functioning is the set of abilities and behaviors that is controlled by the frontal lobe, including:

  • Goal-directed and planning behaviours, such as deciding how to get dressed.
  • Inhibiting responses such as waiting your turn.
  • ...

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