It may sound obvious, but negative thoughts lead to negative feelings.
It is those feelings that lead to us becoming stressed.
We cannot stop negative thoughts entirely, but we can change how to react to them to reduce our stress levels.
Here’s an example of how the thought process works:
You recently had a disagreement with a colleague.
“I’m upset both with them and myself for getting in that situation.”
“They hate me because I’m a terrible person.”
Depression and anger.
We must challenge those thoughts so they don’t have as much control over our lives.
One way of doing this is by seeing the situation from someone else’s point of view. What would you say to a good friend in the same situation? What would they say to you?
Advice (challenging the thought)
“You don’t know for sure what your colleague is thinking. They may feel the same way themselves. Try to talk to them about it.”
It pays to recognise that many negative meanings assigned to thoughts are grounded in opinion, rather than fact.
If there is no evidence for our negative thinking, then we can choose to ignore it.
Once we do that, we can start to let go of a lot of everyday stress.
To learn more about gaining perspective over negative thoughts and feelings, see Module 4 of the Coping with Stress eLearning course.