One of the things that constantly pester us in our lives is the amount of stress and anxiety we regularly face. Being subjected to different stressful situations on a regular basis could trigger anxiety and panic attacks leaving one very susceptible to mental health illnesses.
Consider the different workplaces around you. While every job has a certain amount of stress, such as healthcare services or business continuity management and consulting services, there are those that have higher stress levels.
For instance, call center agents are exposed daily to stressful situations brought about by irate and very demanding callers. The stress level in the call center industry is the primary reason why employee attrition and turnover rates are high.
Whenever we are faced with stress, our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are altered. These three affect each other in ways that could develop negative patterns that lead to unhealthy thoughts resulting in unhelpful emotions and actions.
The good thing is that we have the power to influence this process to improve our mental health and well-being.
Reframing Your Thoughts to Something More Helpful
The best way to deal with situations like these is to recognize them, challenge them, and look for ways to change them. With regular practice, this method will help us look at perceived problems and difficulties from different perspectives.
Let’s take the workplace again as an example. Say you’ve been given an important task to finish, but your mind is immediately flooded with thoughts that things will go wrong and you won’t get the job done. This negative thought then fills you up with fear about what people might say about you and make you doubt your own capacity.
Instead of resigning to the thought that you’re a failure, take a moment to take captive these negative thoughts. Don’t allow mere what-ifs to map out how things will end up for you. Think about why you have these thoughts in the first place.
Challenge the negative thoughts by asking yourself some questions. Is there enough evidence to support it? Are there other explanations why you feel or think that way? Does it have to do with something external or internal?
Keep challenging the negatives until you get enough answers to turn things around. Ask yourself this: if someone else was in the exact same situation, what would you tell him or her? What advice would you give someone who has doubts and fears?
Lastly, replace the negative thoughts with positive ones. This helps boost and reinforce your confidence in taking on the task head-on. Instead of accepting the lies in your head, counter them by thinking positive thoughts.
“I’m fully prepared for it.”
I’ve put a lot of work into it.”
“I will do my best.”
“I can get this done.”
This type of mental and attitudinal reinforcement helps break your previous mindsets and changes it for the better.
There may be times that you cannot completely change negative thoughts and reframe them, it’s okay. The important thing is you continue to practice reframing negative thoughts and learning to think more flexibly and regain control over your thoughts, feelings, and behavior.