The God Box: transferring your troubles to a higher authority – The Globe and Mail

One technique, popularized as ‘The God Box’ by Mary Lou Quinlan (who seems to be creating an industry out of it!).

I also subscribe to the fundamental concept of writing things down to reduce anxiety and worries. This ranges from the day-to-day (what are to do lists, after all, but to avoid the worry about forgetting something) to deeper, more fundamental worries, as in ‘The God Box’. My blog and related writings provide this kind of release for me.

The science behind it:

In a 2010 study, he [Dilip Soman, UofT Rotman School of Management] and his fellow researchers found that participants could alleviate feelings of regret or failure by physically sealing up materials associated with bad experiences in a box or an envelope.

“The God Box is a great example of that,” Dr. Soman says. “The physical act of firstly putting something to paper almost lets me get it out of my system. Turning it over basically allows me to get some psychological closure.

“When someone is distracted by a worrying thought, it can use up mental resources, he adds. “It doesn’t let you focus on whatever else you’re working on with 100 per cent devotion of energy.”

Once those worries are filed away out of sight, however, they’re also out of mind. “God Boxes do that – they basically psychologically distance [anxieties] away.”

The God Box: transferring your troubles to a higher authority – The Globe and Mail.


2 thoughts on “The God Box: transferring your troubles to a higher authority – The Globe and Mail

  1. Hi Andrew, Just wanted to write that I am glad that you find that the idea of keeping a God Box can be helpful.And I wish you my prayers and best hopes on your journey of coping and improved health. My Mom adopted the concept not only to help with all her worries for family and friends but also to deal with her own blood cancer, generally known as mylefibrosis. By telling her story, I am hoping, not to create an industry, but a movement for this simple way to contain our runaway concerns and cares. I am donating the proceeds of my work to cancer and hospice related causes…something Mom would have definitely approved. And I think she’d be amazed that there are actually scientists expounding on how a simple box, piece of scrap paper and a pen can bring some comfort! Wow.All the best to you.

    • Hi Mary Lou, Thanks for taking the time to comment and for providing a bit more background to me and other readers. Great way to raise funds. I am also amazed at how ‘common sense’ and ‘folk wisdom’, in a wide variety of situations, including your Mom’s, often has science behind it. We relearn the wisdom of those who proceed us. All the best as well, Andrew

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