Mindfulness strategies for avoiding undesirable persuasion


Of course, it is impossible and unwise to withdraw from environmental influences, because a lot of information and persuasion is necessary and useful. However, I am continuously interested in learning what influences are, for example, one-sidedly commercially motivated rather than seeking the well-being of all.

I listed some main mindfulness points that I apply to avoid getting involuntarily respectively unconsciously persuaded. For these points, related concepts from social psychology was researched to get more insight into such persuasion resistance strategies that are worth to develop further in the future to avoid unhealthy and harmful behavior.

Open-minded, independent and critical thinking

Being open to different opinions and possibilities is important for me. Also, I value to stay independent in my thinking as far as possible. The clear differentiation between autonomy and reactance (Pavey & Sparks, n.d.) seems to well reflect what I mean by that. As defined within the Self-Determination Theory (SDT) and Reactance Theory, autonomy aims to achieve self-governance free from external pressure by being open-minded and thoroughly knowledgeable in the interest of best outcomes, regardless of the source of information (Pavey & Sparks, n.d.). Reactance on the other side may want to achieve independence ignoring input from others, even when at the cost of one’s health (Pavey & Sparks, n.d.). Therefore, according to Pavey and Sparks (n.d.), health persuasion should foster autonomy and reduce reactant behavior to be more effective.

Avoiding distraction

When walking in Tokyo’s ubiquitous consumption jungle, I often actively listen to an audio book and intentionally try to be sunken in thoughts rather than to get distracted by all the posters, advertisements, screens, and hawkers. According to Rahinel and Ahluwalia (n.d.), our attention mode is important for judgment situations and an experiencer mode is more susceptible to changes in the concrete physical environment than mind-wanderers more abstract thought world, which is an explanation for why for example, changes in product prices are used to attract consumers’ attention.

Notes taking and reflection

It became a habit of mine to regularly take notes from readings and thoughts to structure and reflect on them later on. I find it very beneficial to write things down, not only as reminders but also as affirmations. Research from embodied cognition and situated cognition does suggest that thoughts can be handled like physical objects and that this handling is more effective when not only performed imaginatively but physically (Brinol, Gasco, Petty, & Horcajo, n.d). Brino et al. (n.d.) found that writing down and keeping thoughts physically is supporting mindfulness in the sense of seeing one’s thoughts more objectively and having them more readily and intensely available. That way notes taking helps to ingrain favorable thoughts as a means to resist undesirable persuasion.

Would be interesting to learn from others what their personal strategies for avoiding unhealthy persuasion are.



Brinol, P., Gasco, M., Petty, R., & Horcajo, J. (n.d). Treating Thoughts as Material Objects Can Increase or Decrease Their Impact on Evaluation. Psychological Science, 24(1), 41-47.

Pavey, L., & Sparks, P. (n.d). Reactance, autonomy and paths to persuasion: Examining perceptions of threats to freedom and informational value. Motivation And Emotion, 33(3), 277-290.

Rahinel, R., & Ahluwalia, R. (n.d). Attention Modes and Price Importance: How Experiencing and Mind-Wandering Influence the Prioritization of Changeable Stimuli. Journal Of Consumer Research, 42(2), 214-234.

  • Me and my lists, couldn’t live without them 😉
    Maybe it is the rebel in me, I don’t know why, but I never follow trends/hypes. Still haven’t read or watched Harry Potter for instance. That doesn’t mean I never will, but I like to decide/be in control about the ‘when’. Ha, maybe I am just a control-freak.
    Interesting article again Mathias.