The parents/carers amongst you may well have come across a book for small children entitled 'Bethy Wants a Blue Ice Cream'. As the title suggests, and from memory, it's about a little girl who is adamant that she wants a blue ice cream from the ice cream van on a hot day. Her parents try to explain that there's no such thing as blue ice cream - not from this ice cream van anyway - but she's insistent, and won't take 'no' for an answer. What to do? To the rescue comes a helpful policeman, who gives Bethy his blue sunglasses to put on, and 'hey presto', her vanilla ice-cream becomes blue. Phew!
I'm using this as an example of how we interpret what happens to us/the world around us/how we feel about ourselves - via our core beliefs - through filters such as Bethy's borrowed sunglasses, only these filters have been collected through our upbringing, life experiences, environment, genetic disposition and so on. Some may be helpful, some may not. (And if these core beliefs do lead to unhelpful ways of thinking/thoughts and feelings, we can do something about it, as follows). This leads me on to look at how these beliefs can influence our frame of mind, and how in turn, this is going to dictate how we interpret our day-to-day experiences, and how we feel about and react to what happens to us. Our frame of mind can also be a predictor of how well or badly things go for us, since if I'm in a helpful frame of mind, things are more likely to go well for me, I can deal with things more easily and overcome difficulties. So if you find yourself
- feeling 'stressed'
- beating yourself up when you make a mistake
- being overly negative
- getting irritated or annoyed with the little things
- getting things out of proportion
it can be helpful to stop for a moment, and identify and acknowledge it if you ARE in an unhelpful frame of mind. (I do acknowledge too that we can have life situations/events that make it very difficult for us to be in a helpful frame of mind!!).
Frame of Mind Scale
Whether this is a core belief issue, or just something that crops up now and then - "Gimme a break, I'm just having a bad day!!!" - if you find yourself more over to the left than you'd like to be or feel you should be, acknowledge it and identify it as a first step to doing something about it. Whichever it is, don't give yourself a hard time over it, you are only human, and we all get things wrong sometimes.
Having taken that first all-important step, let's start both thinking and behaving in ways that make it more likely that we'll be in a helpful frame of mind in the first place. Why not take a look and download if you’d like a copy of our Top Ten Tips for promoting wellbeing and preventing and managing stress. We have a 'Thinking Skills' questionnaire too that you can use just to assess how you match up/to encourage you to be aware of keeping things in perspective.
Stress Management Plus run group training sessions and one-to-one coaching sessions designed to support individuals to manage pressure and challenging situations and to develop and maintain resilience. We’re based in Reading in Berkshire, and cover the whole of the UK. If you’d like to know more, please call Marc Kirby on 0118 3283246 or contact him via email.