2 tips to stop negative thinking

Hello my friends!

What are the typical ways in which you respond to the triggers you experience? When faced with a difficult situation, emotion, or decision, do you get caught up in thoughts that seem to seize control of your mind—for example, anxious, fearful or angry thoughts?

1. The key to changing your negative thoughts is to understand how you think now (and the problems that result) and then use strategies to change thoughts or make them have less effect.

Here is a more detailed explanation of the A-B-Cs of the systematic-thought-evaluation process, which lies at the core of CBT:

A—activating event: This refers to the objective situation or external stimulus—the event, occurrence, or specific incident— that triggers a cognitive response in the first place.

B—cognitive response: This refers to how you interpret and come to some conclusion—thoughts often manifested in the form of self-talk—about that event. This necessarily is a reflection of your personal belief system and the particular habit patterns of thought you have adopted and use instinctively every day.

C—emotional reaction: This refers to the distressing feelings that the thoughts in B automatically generate.

Research shows that you can rewire your brain to your advantage. This will lessen the possibility of ever experiencing a serious depression, or, should you have a relapse from a current situation, the odds are favorable it will be less intense and of shorter duration. It also shows you can rewire your brain to recover from traumatic brain injuries of various kinds. This ongoing research falls under the promising new science called neuro-plasticity. Neuroplasticity – or brain plasticity – is the ability of the brain to modify its connections or re-wire itself. Without this ability, any brain, not just the human brain, would be unable to develop from infancy through to adulthood or recover from brain injury.

In Stronger, George S. Everly Jr., Douglas A. Strouse, and Dennis K. McCormack compare humans undergoing stress and experiencing resilience to a rubber ball: In order to make it bounce back, you must put it under great pressure. The greater the pressure, the higher the ball will bounce back. Now to be clear, it’s not the pressure itself that causes the ball to bounce, but the construction and attributes of the ball under pressure. It’s what the ball is made of that really matters. The pressure serves as a catalyst for the rebound. We are like that rubber ball. Our character and attributes—our mental and emotional construction—determine how quickly and easily we will bounce back when challenges apply pressure to our life. And, yes, we can bounce back. Research on resiliency concludes that each person has an innate capacity for resiliency, a self-righting tendency. This capacity operates best when we have resiliency-building conditions in our life, but everyone, even those who grew up with hardships or who have dealt with prolonged or recurring stress, can harness their ability to bounce back.

One strategy that can help improve your outlook is to remind yourself of other challenges you’ve already faced and overcome. Writing down what you’ve learned about yourself from previous, difficult experiences, for example, how you’ve grown or what you’ve accomplished since, or perhaps even because of, a life crisis will empower you with belief that you can triumph in the face of adversity.  Thought diaries help you to identify your negative thinking styles and gain better understanding of how your thoughts (and not the situations you are in) cause your emotional reactions.

2. Learning to manage emotions and choose your thoughts through techniques such as yoga or meditation or by practicing mindfulness will empower you to maintain the perspective that you can survive or overcome. Research from Prof. Mark Williams from Oxford University showed that when difficulties arise in life many of us tend to get caught up in excessive unhelpful thinking. Sometimes people try to stop constant unhelpful thinking but we don’t have to try to stop our thoughts. A more effective way to ease all that internal noise, Prof. Williams teaches, is to pay attention to our direct sensory experience. In this way there’s simply little to no room left in our attention for all that excessive thinking. Coming to our senses calms the mind and grounds us in the present moment. To do this simply redirect your attention out of the thoughts in your head and bring your focus to your sense perceptions. Whether you’re in your home, at the office, in the park or on a subway, notice everything around you. Use your senses to their fullest. Don’t get into a mental dialogue about the things you see, just be aware of what you’re experiencing in this moment. Be aware of the sounds, the scents or the sensation of the air on your skin.

Love always,

Vassiliki xxxx

 

Stress Resilience

Hello my friends,

“The book of joy” is a wonderful, uplifting and inspirational book by two special people Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu. I want to share with you the following excerpt:

“Psychologist Elissa Epel is one of the leading researchers on stress, and she explained to me how stress is supposed to work. Our stress response evolved to save us from attack or danger, like a hungry lion or a falling avalanche. Cortisol and adrenalin course into our blood. This causes our pupils to dilate so we can see more clearly, our heart and breathing to speed up so we can respond faster, and the blood to divert from our organs to our large muscles so we can fight or flee. This stress response evolved as a rare and temporary experience, but for many in our modern world, it is constantly activated. Epel and her colleague, Nobel Prize–winning molecular biologist Elizabeth Blackburn, have found that constant stress actually wears down our telomeres, the caps on our DNA that protect our cells from illness and aging. It is not just stress but our thought patterns in general that impact our telomeres, which has led Epel and Blackburn to conclude that our cells are actually “listening to our thoughts.” The problem is not the existence of stressors, which cannot be avoided; stress is simply the brain’s way of signaling that something is important. The problem—or perhaps the opportunity—is how we respond to this stress. Epel and Blackburn explain that it is not the stress alone that damages our telomeres. It is our response to the stress that is most important. They encourage us to develop stress resilience. This involves turning what is called “threat stress,” or the perception that a stressful event is a threat that will harm us, into what is called “challenge stress,” or the perception that a stressful event is a challenge that will help us grow.

The remedy they offer is quite straightforward. One simply notices the fight-or-flight stress response in one’s body—the beating heart, the pulsing blood or tingling feeling in our hands and face, the rapid breathing—then remembers that these are natural responses to stress and that our body is just preparing to rise to the challenge”.

Love always,

Vassiliki  xxxx

 

 

A simple proven way to overcome stress

Hello my friends!

Psychologist Guy Winch notes that it is both possible and hugely beneficial to stop negative thoughts. “Studies tell us that even a two-minute distraction is sufficient to break the urge to ruminate in that moment,” he says. In this context, Winch uses the term “rumination” to describe the act of dwelling on negative experiences, circumstances, or worries. Though it’s easy to slip into rumination, you can just as easily change the channel in your mind. Every time you catch yourself beginning to worry, stop and intentionally think about something else. The mental distraction might be something completely unrelated, such as noticing the beauty around you or remembering someone’s act of kindness. You can take this technique a step further by using mental distraction to solve or cope with the issue that’s worrying you. Reframing the way you feel about the source of worry may allow you to see an opportunity to resolve the issue.

It’s particularly easy to give in to self-criticism when dealing with challenges. But Carol Dweck, Stanford professor, researcher, and author of the book Mindset, says that one or two simple words can help your mind refocus on potential rather than failure or frustration. “Just the words ‘yet’ or ‘not yet,’ we’re finding, give kids greater confidence and a path into the future that creates greater persistence.” Yet. Not yet. “How you interpret challenges, setbacks, and criticism is your choice,” Dweck notes. “You can interpret them in a fixed mindset as signs that your talents or abilities are lacking. Or you can interpret them in a growth mindset as signs that you need to ramp up your strategies and effort, stretch yourself, and expand your abilities. It’s up to you.” Rather than berating yourself for failing to achieve a goal, remind yourself that you just haven’t accomplished it yet. The power of yet is that it allows you to believe in your potential for success. It’s a tiny word that could make a huge impact on your mind-set.

Love always,

Vassiliki xxxx