Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thought Suppression and Smoking

In mindfulness, we attempt to cultivate awareness of our thoughts without trying to alter or push them away. There's a growing research literature on the dangers of thought suppression--not only does it not work but it may actual increase the incidence of the behavior one is trying to suppression.

The LA Times published an article last week on a study involving a group of smokers. They were split into three group: one group was told to simply record use; one was told to think more about smoking; and one group was asked to actively suppress thoughts about smoking. Although smokers asked to suppress thoughts smoked less the first week, their stress and discomfort increased the the second week, and by the third week, they were smoking more. As noted in the article, this has implications for any sort of habit change.

Click here to read the full newspaper article.

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