Arbor Family Institute Button
Menu Close

What Is Cognitive Dissonance?

woman practices mindfulness

We all have various thoughts and opinions on different topics. No one is ever going to be on the same page about every single thing. This includes within ourselves. Read on to learn more about what cognitive dissonance is and how you can deal with it.

What Is Cognitive Dissonance?

Cognitive dissonance, by definition, is “The psychological conflict resulting from incongruous beliefs and attitudes held simultaneously”. For example, a person with an addiction to nicotine may know that smoking is bad for them because it can cause cancer, but they still may want to smoke cigarettes. These two conflicting feelings may give the person intense and uncomfortable feelings about smoking. There is probably going to be an internal struggle as they decide how to proceed.

Finding Peace

In order to return to a comfortable, peaceful state, the person that is dealing with cognitive dissonance is going to have to overcome their uncomfortable feelings and come to a decision. There are a few decisions that can be made that can give the person a sense of inner peace. Let’s continue using the example of someone with nicotine addiction.

  • The person with nicotine addiction can change their smoking behavior and choose not to smoke cigarettes anymore.
  • The person with nicotine addiction can justify their smoking habits by changing their thinking regarding how smoking can cause cancer.
  • The person with nicotine addiction can justify their smoking behavior by doing something that can offset their worry regarding how smoking can cause cancer.
  • The person can ignore the information that they know to be true regarding how smoking can cause cancer.

For many people, deciding that they are going to completely stop smoking cigarettes is a difficult decision. Most people know that smoking is bad for them, but when they think about stopping, their addiction takes over. They don’t feel as though they have control over their smoking; it’s like their smoking has control over them. These people may wrestle with their uncomfortable thoughts by questioning if smoking is really that bad for their health. They may try to find things that prove to them that they can go on smoking and not have any problems. They may even do this on a daily basis until something happens that they cannot ignore. Maybe they have a cancer scare and fear suddenly takes over. They may try to reduce their cigarette intake while still trying to quiet their mind. Or, they can flat out ignore the information that is begging them to stop smoking. Everyone is going to have a different response to their cognitive dissonance, but more often than not, most people are just looking to find peace.

The Arbor Behavioral Healthcare is here to help you understand your cognitive dissonance and overcome it. We want to help you find peace by helping you stop using substances. We can help. Call us today at (844) 413-2690.