Stress Wärnings: Thank you monkey, but learn to say ‘No’, not today

Stress Wärnings: Thank you monkey, but learn to say 'No', not today

In my last column, I touched on the importance of being able to say no to tasks to overcome stress, and I presented a simple template for a constructive rejection.

In this column I will focus on ‘Monkey Mind’ – our tendency to worry – and I will present a simple self-coaching technique to address and control your catastrophic thoughts.

Disaster thoughts
Worries and ‘catastrophic thoughts’ can be both the causes of stress and symptoms of stress itself. The thoughts of disaster are often unconscious or vaguely worded, such as: “It will all fall apart if I do not arrive on time.” Or, “It never ends well.”

The problem with such thoughts is that we often do not pay attention to them, despite the fact that they control how we act and to some extent also the biochemical processes in our body, including physical stress reactions. For example, try to feel the difference in your bodily reactions between thinking “It’s never going to end well” and “Of course this has to go!”

In other words, it can be important to identify what thoughts we have – especially when we suffer from stress.

Try this exercise!
Try to think of one of your biggest stressors. Notice what negative thoughts pop up and write them down.

Then ask yourself the following questions: As specifically as possible, what is the worst that can happen? What is the probability (in percent) that this will happen? What can you do if the worst really happened?

Face the monster
This exercise shows that catastrophic thoughts often become smaller and more manageable when they become concrete. The (often) unlikely nature of them becomes clearer.

The goal is to work out a plan for what you can do if the worst really happened – whether your fears are realistic or not. That exercise in itself can make it less intimidating because the plan allows you to regain the feeling of mastery. In other words, you get to “look the monster in the eye” and often find that it is not quite as dangerous as you first imagined it to be.

The exercise is from my latest book ‘The little guide to an almost stress-free life’. Take good care of yourself and your ‘monkey mind’.

Source: The Nordic Page




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