The Scenario – How many times have you argued with someone until you were blue in the face only to find that everything you were arguing for or against was based on a huge misunderstanding and prompted by stress?
Can we train ourselves to respond instead of react to stress?
Dennis Greenberger, Ph.D., and Christine Padesky, Ph.D., co-authors of the book Mind Over Mood, suggest that we change our minds in order to reduce stress in our lives. Practice the following intervention to see how changing your mind can change your mood:
- Write down the event or experience causing you stress.
- Take note of the emotions you felt as a result of that experience.
- List the immediate thoughts you had as the event transpired.
- Consider if there is any evidence to support those thoughts and write it down.
- Consider any evidence that opposes those thoughts and write it down.
- Identify rational thoughts about the event that are justified by the evidence you have listed.
- Take note of how you feel at the end of this exercise and develop an action plan to address or rectify the situation.
The Insight – Our bodies are programmed to react to stress, but we decide what that reaction looks like. If we approach stressful situations with a clear head, free of emotions that cloud our judgment, we are better able to reach an effective solution to the situation. Avoid playing the victim or the bad guy. Try to remain objective in every situation. Write out the problem, read it over and make sense of it– make sure you make logical sense, not emotional sense. Don’t let problems become bigger and more stressful than they need to be. You’re strong enough to manage any situation!
How do you react to stress?
Creating Positive Perspectives for Life