Everyone has those days when they wake up on the wrong side of the bed. Now, a new study published in Psychological Science found a way to turn that bad mood around, and fast. Researchers found that writing out the bad thoughts and throwing that piece of paper in the trash can help to make you feel better. While a professor at Ohio State University, Richard Petty P.h.D., agreed that this advice might seem suspect, but he mused that sometimes seemingly ridiculous cures can work.
Petty ran an experiment with 83 participants. Each person was instructed to write down any negative thoughts they had about their body image. Then they were given the option to keep the paper or throw it out. The study found that the participants who held onto the physical reminder of their negative thoughts viewed their bodies more negatively, while those who threw them out did not experience a change in body image. Putting your negativity where it belongs, in the trash, gives your mind a signal that the case is closed, and prevents it from recycling negative thoughts and repeating the cycle of feeling bad. Tossing the paper out frees your mind up to move on to more positive feelings.