Do you sometimes react negatively when a stressful situation occurs?
Do you sometimes find your initial reaction to a change of circumstances leads to anger or irritation?
How about just waking up in the morning feeling below par and unequal to the challenges that lie before you that day?
Firstly, congratulate yourself. You are a human being and these reactions are completely normal and typical of many.
It’s hard to overcome these sorts of negative reactions or thoughts and, if you are anything like me, when your equilibrium is unsettled it can taint everything else for a few hours if not the remainder of the day. I struggled with this for many years, thinking it was just part of how life had to be.
Negative reactions can be managed
However, that was until (because of the train crash) I was lucky enough to obtain the services of a great psychologist who helped me to see that this needn’t remain the case. Using CBT as a blueprint we developed a coping mechanism that has since proved transformational in not just my PTSD symptoms but has seriously altered my perception and actions every day. This in turn has then led on to startlingly great results. I’d like to share it with you as I think you’ll find it transformational too:
Our circumstances, situations around us as well as other people set off a chain reaction; emotions lead to thoughts which then triggers adverse behaviours and accentuates our negative emotions.
If these emotions fall into areas such as anxiety, fear, tension, irritation, anger etc. that sets off our reaction, or behaviour which can be avoidance, over-working, procrastinating, temper etc. Once this happens, we are effectively out of control and allowing our emotions to dictate to us which consequently can lead to unrealistic expectations. We become unreasonable and the situation becomes a crisis for us. Word such as ‘must’, ‘have to’, should’ start prefacing everything which just piles on the stress.
Breaking the cycle of negative reactions
Breaking the cycle initially takes concentration. When a situation occurs that sparks your negative emotions which will impact onto your thoughts, catching yourself at this precise point is imperative.
Instead of allowing the thoughts to feedback into our emotions taking control at this point stops the cycle. Applying realistic, reasonable facts, accepting that the situation is just unpleasant for the moment or a bit challenging and will pass, cuts off the adverse behaviour we don’t want.
It is fine to feel the emotions but look at them dispassionately. Consider what triggered them so you can stop those same triggers in the future. Talk to yourself as you would to a friend.
Calm descends. Rational, constructive, well-reasoned actions prevail. Stress is diffused and an altogether nicer aspect and result is achieved.
Once mastered it becomes second nature and, as I have discovered, gets you to your desired goal quicker and more efficiently which in turn breeds contentment.
Now who doesn’t want a more productive, calmer and more enjoyable life? This bit of brain training will give it to you.