Isn’t it funny, I bet that after simply reading the title of this blog you have a picture in your head of a purple frog or a unicorn? We just can’t help ourselves! Now, if I say to you “don’t think of a purple frog” what do you notice? You still think of a purple frog right!? At least until you realise that you’re not supposed to be thinking of one so you change the image, perhaps to a different colour or animal. So what does this tell us?
The short answer is that the unconscious mind cannot process negatives. What this means is whatever you want to achieve, you must frame that goal as what you want, rather than what you don’t want.
I remember as a child I once got told ‘don’t touch the iron, it’s hot’. So instinctively I wanted to do nothing more than go and touch the iron… I did…it was hot!! Now having an understanding of the unconscious mind, a better instruction would have been surrounding the desired behaviour, such as ‘please continue playing with your toy’.
Whether you are working within management and providing an instruction to a team member, a parent to child or setting your own goals they must be correctly worded so there is no misunderstanding between your conscious self, and your unconscious self.
Here are some examples of negatively worded commands and how you can switch them so they serve you better:
It’s simple but effective – just trying asking for what you actually want and you might be amazed by the impact this could have!
If you want to be one of the first to hear more simple tips sign up to receive the Tidal Coaching eNewsletter and receive a free mini guide on Composure.
If you require expert support such as when suffering a mental health crisis, please remember there are a wealth of organisations and experts that can help.
Below is a list of useful contacts*:
Charity providing support if you have been diagnosed with an anxiety condition.
Phone: 03444 775 774 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 10pm; Saturday to Sunday, 10am to 8pm)
A charity helping people living with manic depression or bipolar disorder.
CALM is the Campaign Against Living Miserably, for men aged 15 to 35.
Phone: 0800 58 58 58 (daily, 5pm to midnight)
Men’s Health Forum
24/7 stress support for men by text, chat and email.
Mental Health Foundation
Provides information and support for anyone with mental health problems or learning disabilities.
Promotes the views and needs of people with mental health problems.
Phone: 0300 123 3393 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm)
Voluntary charity offering support for sufferers of panic attacks and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Offers a course to help overcome your phobia or OCD.
Phone: 0844 967 4848 (daily, 10am to 10pm). Calls cost 5p per minute plus your phone provider’s Access Charge
Support for people with OCD. Includes information on treatment and online resources.
Phone: 0845 390 6232 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 5pm). Calls cost 5p per minute plus your phone provider’s Access Charge
A charity run by people with OCD, for people with OCD. Includes facts, news and treatments.
Phone: 0333 212 7890 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)
Young suicide prevention society.
Phone: HOPELINEUK 0800 068 4141 (Monday to Friday, 10am to 10pm, and 2pm to 10pm on weekends and bank holidays)
Rethink Mental Illness
Support and advice for people living with mental illness.
Phone: 0300 5000 927 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 4pm)
Confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair.
Phone: 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline)
Emotional support, information and guidance for people affected by mental illness, their families and carers.
SANEline: 0300 304 7000 (daily, 4.30pm to 10.30pm)
Textcare: comfort and care via text message, sent when the person needs it most: www.sane.org.uk/textcare
Peer support forum: www.sane.org.uk/supportforum
Information on child and adolescent mental health. Services for parents and professionals.
Phone: Parents’ helpline 0808 802 5544 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 4pm)
Abuse (child, sexual, domestic violence)
Children’s charity dedicated to ending child abuse and child cruelty.
Phone: 0800 1111 for Childline for children (24-hour helpline)
0808 800 5000 for adults concerned about a child (24-hour helpline)
Advice on dealing with domestic violence.
Phone: 0808 2000 247 (24-hour helpline)
Phone: 0800 917 7650 (24-hour helpline)
National Gambling Helpline
Phone: 0808 8020 133 (daily, 8am to midnight)
Phone: 0300 999 1212 (daily, 10am to midnight)
*Sourced from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/mental-health-helplines/ (July 2020)