GREAT Morning Everybody!
“Stressed spelled backwards is desserts.” – Loretta Laroche
There are many ways in which we unknowingly contribute to our own stress. We do this with our thoughts and language all of the time without even realizing it. Things happen that we don’t like and we blame ourselves or others.
We all have the ability to intensify stress by being hard on ourselves. We use language we would never use when talking to others. If something doesn’t work out and we feel the slightest bit responsible, we tell ourselves we are useless. We call ourselves a failure, but all this does is escalate our stress even more. The reason why this happens is because when we become stressed and anxious, we begin to view things through a distorted lens. And as our distorted and negative thoughts arise, they hook us, reeling us in, and we believe them without thinking twice.
If we sleep through our alarm, have that second piece of chocolate cake or receive a terrible work evaluation, we tell ourselves we are worthless or that we are a loser, however is that kind of thinking going to serve us or is it going to create more stress? More importantly, is that thought even true? Are we really worthless, or are we simply Humans? Instead of berating ourselves, we could instead offer ourselves compassion and encouragement the way we would a friend. Think about how THAT would alleviate our stress.
What’s really important to understand here is we have these thoughts in stressful moments, and it is like our vision is blurred. We fall into habitual negative self-talk almost immediately so we want to begin to view these thoughts as events that happen in our mind. Passing events that come and go. Our thoughts are no different than an itch on our knee or the sound of a chirping bird. These are sensations within the body. What’s more, all sensations arise, and all sensations pass. Try this: Visualize your next negative thought as if it were a cloud in the sky. Watch it come and watch it go without attaching to the thought. Acknowledge the thought, but set the intention to refuse getting swept away from it while in this high stress state. Remember, it is temporary. It will come and it will go.
Sometimes mindfulness is described as seeing clearly. It allows us to see how stress can create filtered thinking. We are able to notice how we fall into old story lines that don’t serve us and this seeing allows us to be mindful of which thoughts to give weight to. So as you move through the day, try this practice of observing this self-talk and notice when thoughts are negative. As you notice, try to accept the fact that these thoughts are passing events. Let them come. Let them go. Just because you have thoughts, it doesn’t mean they are true. Notice how awareness of this can significantly reduce your stress level!
Enjoy what comes of today!