When I saw this episode of Derren Brown’s Inside Your Mind show, I knew I had to share this bit, because it dramatically illustrates what happens when we try to stop picking our skin, pulling our hair, or any doing any other undesired behavior we find difficult to stop.
Whenever we tell ourselves to stop picking, our unconscious mind only registers the picking part. It’s how our brain works – if I tell you now, “don’t think of a chimpanzee in a pink tutu”, what happens? So if you repeatedly admonish yourself, “stop picking,” you are giving your unconscious the suggestion to pick. The same thing happens if your parents or significant others tell you these things.
This is just the end of the segment (the whole program is on Hulu but you probably can find the other pieces on Youtube) that demonstrates the power of negative suggestion to bring about what you don’t want. Before the segment in the clip, Derren has repeatedly told the woman not to press a button because it will electrocute a kitten in the cage in front of her. (He also used some other tricks, but that’s the gist of it.)
Good demo, right? I love how this ended up being a “treat” for her.
This is why it’s important to focus on the positive. Gently telling yourself, “hands away” is better than angrily telling yourself, “don’t pick!” Focus on the positive, healthy things in your life, and the steps you are taking in order to make some improvements.
Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
Love and support,
p.s. Have you downloaded my free “Freedom Kit”? It comes with a written and audio report, “Why you pick your skin and how to finally stop,” a video on “how to stop skin picking urges in two minutes flat,” and my “Live Free” newsletter in your inbox each month. Learn more here.