The Power of Challenging Cognitive Dissonance: Overcoming Inner Conflict and Achieving Personal Growth

The Power of Challenging Cognitive Dissonance: Overcoming Inner Conflict and Achieving Personal Growth

Welcome to Win Your Week, where we explore all things motivation, mindfulness, life hacks, and more to help you achieve a better lifestyle.

Today, we're talking about a psychological concept called "cognitive dissonance", what it is, its function and how we can reduce its effects.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you hold two conflicting beliefs or values?

Perhaps you know that smoking is bad for your health, but you continue to smoke. Or maybe you believe that cheating is wrong, but you find yourself cheating on a test. This discomfort that arises from holding conflicting beliefs or values is known as cognitive dissonance.

What is Cognitive Dissonance?

Cognitive dissonance is a psychological phenomenon that was first identified by Leon Festinger in the 1950s. It occurs when a person holds two or more beliefs, values, or attitudes that are in conflict with each other. The resulting cognitive discomfort can lead to anxiety, guilt, and other negative emotions.

For example, imagine you are environmentally conscious but you also drive a petrol heavy SUV. Every time you drive your car, you feel the tension between your concern for the environment and your behaviour that contributes to environmental degradation

To resolve this dissonance, you may either change your belief (by being less concerned about living sustainability) or change your behaviour (by avoiding driving your car).

While this discomfort is not pleasant when we experience it, it does serve a purpose.

The Purpose of Cognitive Dissonance

The function of cognitive dissonance is to reduce the discomfort that arises from holding conflicting beliefs, values, or attitudes. When we experience cognitive dissonance, we feel psychological tension or discomfort that motivates us to reduce the discomfort of conflicting beliefs, values, or attitudes and restore balance.

How to Reduce Cognitive Dissonance

Here are some strategies to help reduce the effects of cognitive dissonance:

Change Your Behaviour

One way to reduce cognitive dissonance is to change your behaviour to bring it in line with your beliefs. For example, if you believe that exercise is important, but you are not currently exercising, you can start to exercise regularly to reduce your cognitive dissonance.

Change Your Beliefs

Another way to reduce cognitive dissonance is to change your beliefs or attitudes. For example, if you have a negative attitude towards a certain group of people, but you encounter evidence that challenges your beliefs, you may be able to reduce your cognitive dissonance by changing your attitude.

Seek Out New Information

Seeking out new information that supports your beliefs can help reduce cognitive dissonance. For example, if you are a smoker and you read about the dangers of smoking, you may be more likely to quit smoking.

Engage In Self-Affirmation

Engaging in self-affirmation activities can help reduce cognitive dissonance. For example, if you have just made a decision that conflicts with your beliefs, you can engage in self-affirmation by reminding yourself of your positive qualities or accomplishments.

Be Mindful of Your Biases

Being aware of your biases and prejudices can help reduce cognitive dissonance. For example, if you have a bias against a certain group of people, you can be mindful of your thoughts and actions and try to challenge your biases.

Over To You


In conclusion, cognitive dissonance is a common phenomenon that can lead to discomfort and negative emotions. However, by implementing some of the above strategies, we can reduce the effects of cognitive dissonance and lead a more harmonious life.