By | CLARE WATSON | www.sciencealert.com
Worse than a song stuck in your head, negative thoughts that you can’t push away can be highly detrimental to your wellbeing. Sometimes, try as we might to suppress them, some thoughts just keep coming back.
New research suggests this might be because those unwanted thoughts still exist in another part of the brain.
This finding suggests that trying to suppress repetitive thoughts as a way to give our brains a break (and protect our mental wellbeing) might not be the best strategy, supporting what classic studies had first suggested.
“These results provide new neural evidence of the pervasiveness of suppressed thoughts and unveil a network of brain areas to be targeted to treat intrusive thought disorders” such as post-traumatic stress disorder, the authors of the study said.
The study tested this with neutral thought content. The team mapped the brain activity of 15 people as they tried to suppress any thoughts or images of either a red apple or a green broccoli.