Cognitive dissonance is defined as a psychological stressor in which an individual participates in activities or actions that are against their self-beliefs or norms. This contradiction in actions often presents considerable discomfort that often prompts these individuals to react to relieve this discomfort. Last year, at the peak of the Coronavirus pandemic, the various containment measures resulted in me working from home more. This, however, resulted in me gaining some weight. In an attempt to resolve this, I made a conscious decision to go for healthier food choices and better sleep. Having understood the importance of being active, a persistent feeling of guilt engulfed my conscience, prompting me to begin morning exercises. However, engaging in physical activities meant that I had to forgo time to rest and even engage myself in better economically productive activities such as online jobs. This produced considerable cognitive dissonance in my life.
To reduce this dissonance, I listed all my to-do activities and scheduled my time to accommodate these activities. For physical activity, I joined the gym and scheduled an equivalent time in my available time for it. This turned out to be fruitful since I made new friends at the gym. These friends were like-minded, compatible with my beliefs and ideologies, supportive, and formed a great source of motivation. The development has increased the attractiveness of going to the gym as it is fun. My membership card is now a part of my key chain. It is a constant reminder that exercising is vital to healthy living. Adopting this behavior has enabled me to change my beliefs about exercising. Many people relate exercising and going to the gym as kin to avoiding chronic diseases such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and others. While this is true, there are many other reported benefits of working out that improve an individual’s overall quality of life (Mandolesi et al., 2018). I have reaped many of these benefits, including going to bed earlier, less screen time on my phone, better sleep quality, managing my time better, and finally, feeling very energetic and lively. These factors have increased my accordance with the idea of working out. I am proud of myself whenever I see my gym card and body gains from working, thus eliminating my dissonance.
Cognitive dissonance in theory and everyday life. (2018, March 6). EverydayHealth.com. https://www.everydayhealth.com/cognitive-dissonance/
Mandolesi, L., Polverino, A., Montuori, S., Foti, F., Ferraioli, G., Sorrentino, P., & Sorrentino, G. (2018). Effects of physical exercise on cognitive functioning and wellbeing: biological and psychological benefits. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 509.
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Identify a time in your life when you experienced cognitive dissonance. Show how you did (or could have) reduced the importance of the dissonant belief, how you did (or could have) made new beliefs that increased unity, and how you did (or could have) eliminated the dissonant attitude or behavior.
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