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Use Your Mind to Overcome Anger and Anxiety

Psychologists recommend a couple concrete activities to help your mind frame traumatic events in ways that will be less painful. The techniques are as basic as answering simple questions. 

What’s the Latest Development?

While we can’t avoid the events that will upset us in life, we can change how we deal with them, say psychologists. Based on experimental data, Ohio State researchers recommend taking concrete steps to help yourself feel better about an unfortunate event. One technique known as self-distancing can help you to cope by “mentally moving away from the situation and watching it at a distance, as if it had happened to someone else.” In an experiment where subjects were purposefully frustrated by experimenters, those who practiced self-distancing responded with less aggression as the experiment progressed. 

What’s the Big Idea?

Another pitfall when it comes to recalling traumatic events is doing so abstractly. In an experiment, subjects in one group wrote about trauma in a concrete, objective way, by concentrating on questions such as “How do I feel right now? How did I feel at the time of the event and what did I see, hear and think? How might I deal with a similar situation in the future?” After the writing exercise, the concrete-thinking group reported fewer intrusive memories of the event than the abstract-thinking group, which asked questions such as “Why didn’t I handle it differently?”

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