Have you noticed how you can convince yourself that things are worse than they really are?
We have this ability to create all the stories we want in our mind. Although they may not always reflect the reality, those thoughts can be daunting and can cause us stress.
The most challenging for me was to receive positive words from friends or people I cared about or worked with. I had this somehow engrained default setting of dismissing positive feedback. “She’s just trying to encourage me because she’s a good friend.”
A situation leads to new thoughts. A thought creates an emotion. An emotion leads to actions, which in turn create new thoughts.
My thoughts were leading me to very confusing emotions. And I felt stressed.
But it was all in my head.
The more I became passionate about self-development and all things psychology, the more I was able to notice what I was doing to myself.
I’ve learned how to shift my stressful thoughts into reality and positivity. Here are steps you can try too:
1.Catch your thought.
The easier you practice this, the easier it gets. When you catch yourself with negative or stressful thoughts, really make an effort and stop for a second. Identify and acknowledge the thought that is bothering you.
“My friend says things she doesn’t really mean”.
2. Give your thought a score.
Give it a score. How much do you believe in your stressful thought?
3. Check and Challenge
Is your thought realistic? Could you think of an alternative interpretation?
For example, “Could my friend actually mean it?”
4. Balance the evidence
Do the facts really support your evidence of doom? Is there any evidence that is more encouraging?
5. Once again, give your thought a score
Give it a new score. How much do you believe in your stressful thought?
How has the score evolved from earlier on? Any drop in the score is a huge improvement towards being stress free!