Paradoxical intention

[…] when insomniacs tried to force themselves to stay awake, they were able to fall asleep.

How to fall sleep by not trying

Paradoxical intention can work in several areas of life. One is falling asleep. If we try to fall asleep, and stress out about not falling asleep, we may be less likely to fall asleep. So if we instead lie in bed, with eyes open, and try to stay awake, we may more easily fall asleep. It’s tiring, and it reduces the stress of trying to fall asleep and not being able to.

Another is when we have an uncomfortable experience. Usually, we try to avoid or escape it, and that tends to maintain it or even make it stronger. So instead, we can welcome it and even amplify it, intend for it to be stronger. We change our relationship to it, and it tends to soften and appear different to us. It seems less threatening, and the charge may even go out of it.


Initial notes……

  • paradoxical intention
    • uncomfortable experience -> make it stronger
    • sleepless -> intend to stay awake (laying still in bed, relaxed, eyes open, intend to stay awake)




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