Creating psychological distance can be accomplished in four ways. All four have the same consequences of elevating someone’s thinking to bigger picture, more abstract concerns. They all allow a person to get out of the weeds. You can create psychological distance by doing any of the following:
- Imagine physical distance
- Imagine separation in time
- Imagine it is not you involved, but a stranger
- Imagine the outcome is uncertain
Brain scientists have found that the more distance we imagine, the less activity we see in regions of the brain associated with thinking about ourselves, and the more activity we see in regions of the brain connected with abstract thinking and thinking about other people. From this, neuroscience supports what psychologists had theorized – that the more metaphoric forms of distance (e.g. social distance) may be just as important to the idea of psychological distance as the more tangible forms of distance (e.g. physical).
From Harvard Business Review (March 2015)