It’s normal to have feelings of stress and anxiety in your daily life, but in healthy doses. Healthy stress helps us move towards our goals, keep our instincts in check and keeps us safe when we’re in a difficult situation. However, high levels of stress and chronic anxiety can have a damaging affect on our systems and lead to negative consequences not only for your state of mind but your physical health as well.
Keeping anxiety levels under control and managing your stress are critical factors in your overall wellness, and many women may be surprised to find that their thought patterns can contribute to the ongoing cycle of negativity. While none of the below ideas are an overnight solution, when reinforced with counseling and self-awareness you can reduce your overall stress levels to a manageable state by implementing some or all of these tips in your daily life.
“It’s got to be all or nothing”.
Thinking in extremes is the stress superhighway; mostly because we rarely lean towards the positive end of the spectrum of possibilities. When there are no gray areas, your brain is stuck in an endless of cycle of ‘What if?’, almost like a tennis match is being played between the different lobes of your brain. Things are either good or bad, black or white, right or wrong – and there is no space in between where we can examine the most likely outcome (which is rarely as bad as we expected it to be!).
“This situation is a complete disaster.”
When everything is a catastrophe, even the most insignificant event or situation can immediately feel like a worst-case scenario. Whether it is an argument with a close girlfriend that feels like a lifelong breakup, or a disagreement with colleagues at work, our minds tend to go to the worst-possible corner and hover there frantically. While irrational, this mentality can be helped by adding perspective – which can often be found in the most unlikely of places.
“I know what they are thinking, and it’s not good”.
When did you suddenly become a mind reader? Clearly, you must be a mind reader since you know exactly what others are thinking in a particular situation. Being empathetic to the reactions and feelings of others is not the same as anticipating their thoughts, feelings and ideas, and when we get in the habit of assigning our own negative spin to the actions of others then we’re heading down a dangerous path for our stress levels. This type of thinking can lead us to anticipate rejection or negative feedback from others that might not be forthcoming at all.
These are just 3 of many ways our thoughts can lead to surges of stress, feelings of anxiety and being overwhelmed. The good news is that when you are aware of what is happening with you, you can get some help so you don’t have to handle it alone.