When we're feeling stressed, or low or anxious, we can often deal with situations and life in general in ways that aren't very helpful, so that we maintain and encourage and exacerbate these unhelpful feelings and we can end up making these situations/our lives even more difficult as a result (we make the problem worse). We've spoken elsewhere about how we can get stressed about virtually anything, and for a variety of reasons. Whatever the reason - and you may say that because of what's going on for you "You can't expect me not to be stressed!" - what we're interested in doing is ensuring that we don't let unhelpful thoughts and feelings get in the way/slow us down/stop us from making the best of or most of what we can be. Even if our life situation is difficult, what can we do to make the best of this situation? Having helpful thoughts and feelings is clearly going to help. As you know, thinking in helpful ways will encourage and foster helpful, 'positive' emotions, and vice-versa. So, the central hub of psychological wellbeing is going to be feeling good, feeling strong and healthy emotionally, isn't it? If it's the feelings stupid, and I want to improve the way I feel emotionally, concentrating on
- how I think (my thinking style)
- how I behave (what I do)
What we can start to do is to replace unhelpful thoughts with more helpful ones. Thoughts are after all just words in our minds, so maybe we can try and change the words/script in our mind. If the words in our mind are for example 'I'm no good'; 'Things will never work out for me'; 'Others are better than me', this is likely to provoke unhelpful emotions in us.
Let's try and change those words to 'I'm okay'; 'It's okay'; 'Life's okay'; or 'Life is difficult but I can get through this'.
Those thoughts are likely to lead to more helpful emotions.
Saying these things to myself is only part of the story, and I need to live it and believe it and behave in ways that support and re-inforce the message. So, what would I do and how would I behave if I believed and lived those more helpful thoughts? You probably know what you could be doing, but maybe have found it difficult for some of the reasons mentioned above?
If the above is ringing bells with you, over the next month, why not undertake to
- DO HELPFUL THINGS/BEHAVE IN HELPFUL WAYS
and see how you get on, how you feel, in an experimental kind of way. Do not forget that very often we need to take small steps, and that it requires persistence and determination to change things, rather than there being an answer that will change things overnight. Writing an action plan can be helpful for this, to be reviewed and revised on a regular basis.
Here’s some info on our group trainings and one-to-one coaching sessions if you’d like some support with the above. Please call Marc Kirby at Stress Management Plus for more information on 0118 3283246.