Do you sometimes find yourself dwelling in thoughts about the past and worrying about what is still to come? Those thoughts can really be pulling you down. So, what should we do about it? Apparently, it might be most beneficial to suppress these thoughts, and by doing so, be able to ultimately forget about them.
Let’s get more scientific here: Current research has shown that we can actively suppress our fears by engaging in a cognitive control process, known as intentional memory control. This implies that a person facilitates forgetting of certain fears by intentionally suppressing them, which can lead to reduced emotional impact and vividness of that fear. If someone lacks this ability, the person may be more likely to develop mood and anxiety-related disorders.
Therefore, insight in this area is crucial for practical implementations in therapy. Especially, in challenging situations, such as the current corona crisis, our ability to protect our mental health by suppressing negative thoughts is essential. We all have to cope with new restrictions, insecurities, and additional fears, which can be distressing. As previous research has pointed out, this can lead to rising anxiety and depression levels in a population. The question arises, why do we differ in this ability and who is more at risk of not being able to suppress their fears sufficiently? That’s what our study is aiming to identify.
In our study, we investigate the influence of state anxiety on the ability to actively suppress fears. State anxiety is defined as your current emotional well-being that can be characterized by apprehension, tension, and fear towards a specific situation or task. We will explore whether the rise in anxiety influences a person’s ability to suppress worries of their future and, ultimately, forget about them!