Paradoxical Intention—Mental Health Minute 1

Do you ever find yourself so scared of something happening that you sort of will it to happen?

For example, are you ever worried that you’ll panic during a test, and then find that you do? There’s a simple solution for situations like this:

Paradoxical Intention

Viktor Frankl, Holocaust survivor and author of one of my favorite books, termed a kind of therapeutic treatment “paradoxical intention.” Simply, it is The conscious and purposeful practice of a habit or negative thought in an effort to remove it, coined by Viktor Frankl, Neurologist and Holocaust survivor.


For example, if you’re nervous you’ll panic during a test and want to perform paradoxical intention, say to yourself prior: “When I start taking this test, I’m gonna try increasing my heartbeat, becoming fidgety, and feeling worried.”

For the same reason exposure therapy works in overcoming phobias, we are made less fearful of things by immersing our minds in them.

How to use it

If you ever become conscious of a fear you have, slow down and mentally encourage yourself to feel that fear. When you invite it in, you’ll be able to see that it’s not much more than a nuisance and feel a bit more comfortable.

Check out the Above Cognition YouTube channel: Above Cognition YouTube

I recently uploaded my first guided meditation. I wrote the script and my friend Olivia recorded it for me; I think she did an excellent job, and I fully intend on doing many more of increasing quality.

Above Cognition’s Instagram: Above Cognition Instagram

I also started an Instagram page, where I will post short-form content and stories of things I enjoy.

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