What Is Cognitive Dissonance?

Cognitive dissonance is the uncomfortable feeling that results from finding out new information that contradicts what is already known about a situation. This discomfort also happens when someone’s behavior doesn’t match reality or facts. Sometimes, the ways that people resolve cognitive dissonance contribute to unhealthy behaviors or poor decisions.

Ways to Overcome Cognitive Dissonance

Example―A woman who is overweight has been advised by her doctor to follow a certain diet, exercise, and lose weight so as to reduce any possible health risks. Her diet has been carefully discussed and designed, and it completely does away with junk food that poses a threat to her health. The woman knows why dieting is important, and that it is for her health, and not for any silly https://ecosoberhouse.com/ reason. Yet, she gorges on cakes, donuts, burgers, and other fatty food that is strictly taboo for her. The woman tells herself that, “It’s okay, cheating once in a while is allowed! ” or “I’ll just exercise extra tomorrow and work this off.” or “The doctor is being unfair, my diet doesn’t really have to be this strict.” or “He didn’t say when I was to start following this diet.

Social pressures

In fact, every time you are faced with making a decision there is the possibility of dissonance. The dissonance we experience on a daily basis is usually insignificant enough that we reduce it automatically – often without even knowing — and move on. However, when beliefs and actions that are important to us conflict, we experience a greater level of psychological discomfort.

Take this assessment to see if you have symptoms common in people with an anxiety disorder. The choice to courageously deal with obstacles is at the heart of personal growth work. While cognitive dissonance happens to all of us, it is HOW we respond, that determines whether we evolve through expanded understanding or whether we devolve into a reactionary, limiting stance.

How to reduce cognitive dissonance

You feel guilty but can’t afford to buy meat from pasture-raised or grass-fed animals. Every time you see the membership tag on your keychain, it reminds you of that cognitive dissonance treatment pesky truth — that exercise is part of a healthy lifestyle. This incompatibility (dissonance) can happen when you do something that goes against one of your values.

Ways to Overcome Cognitive Dissonance

You start going to bed earlier and get up with enough time to work out. It’s hard at first, but instead of feeling guilty when you see the gym keychain, you feel proud of yourself. You may make a conscious effort to choose nutritious foods, try to avoid processed foods and soda, and shoot for eight hours of sleep every night. Cognitive dissonance happens when you hold two conflicting thoughts in your mind at the same time — like loving both hamburgers and cows. Sometimes, new information leads to cognitive dissonance, but that also allows you to take new actions you may not have thought about taking before.