A One-Word Mantra to Help You Deal with Everyday Challenges
Repeat a troubling word—and concept—over and over, until it loses its meaning and its power.
"Acceptance and commitment therapy, a new and highly effective form of clinical psychology, is based on the recognition that almost all psychological pain comes not from experiences, but from the words in our heads with which we describe those experiences. ACT's founder, Steven Hayes, recommends repeating a word like 'milk' over and over for 49 seconds. At that point the patient's mind stops associating the sound with a nutritious liquid and experiences it as a meaningless noise. This disassociation between words and reality allows patients to let go of verbal stories that have been tormenting them. Try this: repeat the word 'milk' until it means nothing to you, then proceed to more emotionally loaded words that often trouble you, like 'failure' or 'bankruptcy' or 'chilblains.' The idea is to rob these words of their sting so that you can deal calmly with life's realities, free from the additional burden of terror arising from your internal narrative."