…tell someone not to think of a white bear for 5 minutes and they won’t be able to get polar bears out of their heads…
“The original white bear paper documented the fact that people can, but only for brief periods of time, suppress thoughts of white bears,” Schneider said. “But on removal of suppression instructions, people are typically flooded with the thoughts they were supposed to suppress.”
The bear was chosen because one of the researchers remembered reading that when Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky challenged his brother not to think of a white bear, the brother remained perplexed for quite a while.
“These observations suggest that attempted thought suppression has paradoxical effects as a self-control strategy, perhaps even producing the very obsession or preoccupation that it is directed against,” the authors wrote in an abstract for the original paper.
…I have my own version, which you’re welcome to use…if you’re ever doing a final mix of a track, get near the person at the mixing desk and casually say; “Do you think the hi-hat’s a little loud?…nah, I’m sure it’s probably fine…”