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Three Thinking Errors People Make When They Are Under High Stress

Posted Mar 07 2012 7:00am

The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another. William James

Stress can become so overwhelming. It seems when you are in the middle of stressful times, more things happen to cause you angst. Routines that worked so well seem to go out the window. Your entire focus is how to control the stressful situations around you.  The fact of the matter is that chasing for that perfect balance causes a higher level of stress.

The hardest thing to do when you are stressed is to stop and take a look at the problems you are facing. The fear is losing control over everything in your hands. Stopping to take a breath in the midst of stressful times is the very best thing you can do for yourself. You give yourself the grace to see your problems in a different light.

Let’s talk about three thinking errors common to folks with high stress:

You Become Your Own Worst Enemy. Sometimes you don’t have to look very far for criticism on how you’re handing problems. Nitpicking thoughts can cloud your mind, such as, “I should have done it differently,” “I feel worthless.” Self-criticism can help keep us stuck in chronic stress mode.

What You Can Do: Ask yourself how you would treat your best friend experiencing stress-filled times. Would you listen and give them support? Would you comfort them with loving positive words? Turn and give yourself the love you give to others. Believe down deep in your soul that you deserve every ounce of love you can muster up.

You make decisions based on fear, not from reality. Fear is a very powerful emotion during stressful periods. And while fear may be a helpful emotion when dealing with a life-saving situation, it can block rational thought in making the best decisions during a rough patch. Personal survival becomes the focus instead of making decisions from a clear, rational mind.

What You Can Do: Find strategies to move fear out of your mind and into reality. Connect with a trustworthy source to talk about what you are most fearful of.Write down your fears on paper. This will help discern what is fear-based and what is reality-based.

You wish your life away. Some common thought patterns include “I wish it were Friday,” or “I wish (fill in the blank) wasn’t happening to me.”  We all have wished at some time to be anywhere but work or in the midst of a difficult situation. However, this thought process can be an escape pattern instead of coping with a stressful or unhappy situation at hand.  

What You Can Do: Write down a list of this you want. Pick just one thing you want more than anything to achieve.  Honestly see there you are at right now. Then write down your goal.

Avoiding these three common pitfalls can send you well on your way to reducing high stress levels and a happier life. 

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