One of the definitions of stress is “a condition or feeling experienced when a person PERCEIVES that DEMANDS EXCEED the personal and social resources an individual is able to mobilize.”
Over time, feeling overwhelmed can lead to anxiety that takes over your attention and keeps you stuck thinking about what you are missing. They call this “Monkey Mind,” because our thoughts and actions are driven by part of the brain that is primitive that is governed by emotion rather than logic and rational thinking.
There are various THOUGHT HABITS that feed our stress and drain our energy. Learning to identify these thought habits will allow us to stop and try to redirect our thoughts to effectively save our energy and have less stress.
“The Greatest Weapon against Stress is our Ability to Choose One Thought over Another”
Thought Habits that Increase Stress:
-Automatic Negative Thoughts-
The problem is we don’t realize that our brains are hardwired for negative possibility and threats; we can thank evolution for that. All the negative thoughts of possible terrible happenings are draining our energy and happiness.
So how do we STOP these negative thoughts?
We have to offer our brain another choice. There is overwhelming evidence that the POWER of your thoughts affect our PERCEPTION of stress.
Studies show that people with negative thoughts are more stressed than those who think positive. Did you know that research shows that it takes three positive thoughts to balance the power of one negative thought?
Positive thinking takes practice. It is a proven fact that positivity produces success in relationships, finances and health.
What can you do right now? Start by thinking positive.A lot of stress can be reduced by changing the way we think (our perception) about particular things.We tend to inappropriately assign too much emotional energy to an event. Have an open mind and a willingness to see things differently.
-Worst Possible Scenario
How many times has something happened and our brain goes right to the worst possible scenario?By repeatedly sending the worst case scenario to our imagination, we ultimately are increasing our stress levels, decreasing our energy and negatively affecting our health.
So the next time something happens, and it starts to build up inside you, stop, take a deep breath, and try to look at the big picture. Look at what is truth about the situation, what is actually going on and realize that your perception of the situation is more than likely making it larger than it truly is.
-Small Failures spread to Self-Doubt
Sometimes small failures trigger deep fears, which will affect our ability to respond appropriately and ultimately affect our self-confidence.
Again, this usually is our perception about a situation.If we fail a test, or we bomb out on a big sale, we think that failure is more about us than the specific task. We tend to spread that one failure to other parts of our life and that usually leads to being stuck and not being able to move forward.So, check your perception about the failure.
We all have failures, some larger than others, but that does not mean we aren’t good at things. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, its understanding that failure is part of personal growth and learning. Don’t let small failures cause you to lose your confidence.Remember, “Failure is not the opposite of success, it is PART of success.”
How many times have you heard this one, “Let go of that anger”?
Replaying something over and over and over again in your head will not do you any good. I know you’ve heard that before.Easier said than done, I know!But we can’t change what has happened. A relationship breakup, a job, a difficult conversation we wish we never had, all can’t be changed by thinking about it all the time. It happened, it hurt, and we got upset and angry. At some point we must move on and really let it go.
We get ‘stuck’ because we are emotional about it (that monkey mind we spoke about). Our resentment carries out into our attitude with people and different situations long after it originally happened. This triggers stress and takes up a lot of energy.
How do we move on and let it go?
As hard as it is, try to take that energy and focus on the present. Focus on the now, stay in the moment. Focus on immediate and short term goals. Think positive thoughts. Detach from it, compartmentalize it and watch your stress levels come down.
“I should do this”, I should do that”, I should have done this”, “I should have done that”, “If only I would have done….(fill in the blank), “if I were smarter”,“If I were thinner”! How often do we all do this?
Constantly pointing out where you should be and why you aren’t there leads to a feeling like you aren’t in control, it leads to resentment and ultimately stress. It drains energy.So try not to think of the ‘should” and focus on the ‘doing’.What can you do and implement at this moment?
By Understanding and acknowledging the various thought habits and redirecting your thoughts from negative to positive will give you more energy, reduce your stress and bring you more happiness.
Source: Cynthia Ackrill, MD, AIS Fello and Chairman of the Workplace Stress Board.
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