Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, people have been experiencing stress at varying levels. The unexpected events of the global health crisis have taken a huge toll on our lives, whether mentally, financially, or physically. This explains why recent studies found mental health concerns were at a steady rise during the pandemic.
We cannot deny our lives have become even more stressful in recent years. Our fast-paced lifestyle has placed significant pressure on how we balance our careers and personal lives. The good news is that mental health resources are readily available to help people on their life struggles. Many are now interested in meditation practices, stress management techniques, and even adult mental health first aid courses.
If you’ve been experiencing stress more frequently than ever, it’s important to know how to deal with these thoughts to avoid affecting your life negatively. With that in mind, here are ways how to train yourself to reframe stressful situations positively.
Familiarize yourself with your thought patterns
The first step in positively reframing stress is to familiarize yourself with your negative thought patterns that greatly affect your stress levels. Use your cognitive distortions to identify the stress triggers that play a role in your life. Pessimists have a particular way how they contemplate their life experiences since they tend to experience a lot more stress and lesser success than positive thinkers do.
Thus, you have to understand how these people work and think to avoid their negative thought patterns and maintain a positive one instead. In turn, learning about thought patterns and their impact on people is critical for preparing yourself for change and understanding.
Examine your thoughts
Instead of drowning yourself in feelings of helplessness and frustration, try to look at your situation from a new perspective. Before you find yourself slipping into stress-inducing thinking patterns, divert your mind by identifying what aspects of your situation that stress you and how they show up. Knowing your triggers is necessary to change and challenge them; you become an observer by simply being mindful of everything that runs in your mind.
Focus on how your body responds to stress. Is there a need that isn’t being met? Do you feel a lack of control? During these instances, make sure to have a journal ready and record your thoughts, emotions, and overall life situation. From there, explore your thoughts with fresh eyes to adopt a new way of catching your thoughts.
Once you have identified your negative thoughts, it’s time to do something about it. Part of reframing stressful situations is knowing the accuracy and the truth of your thoughts. Can you find other ways to interpret these events? Are these negative thoughts even true?
Instead of looking at things as you often do, challenge each negative thought and learn how to adopt these thoughts that suit your situation while reflecting a positive outlook.
Change your outlook
The next step is something very obvious, but not all can’t seem to do it. When reframing, encourage yourself to change your perspective. It allows you to find what you can change and think of much better possibilities without judging whether you can do them.
Stop yourself from making wishful thoughts, but ask yourself how you can change the situation for the better. You may not be able to change things, but reframing the situation positively helps you see to other possibilities. Remember, stress response is normal, but it’s up to you how you can turn it into something useful.
Think of positive thoughts
Have you ever noticed when a nurse or doctor asks you about your discomfort instead of focusing on your pain? That is called reframing. Learning to reframe situations actually minimizes the stressful experience of patients.
When thinking of something negative, convince yourself to use less strong negative emotions. In times of potentially stressful situations, try to treat it as a challenge instead of a threat. See how it benefits you and the positive side of your stressors. This way, you encourage yourself to look at the facts of the situation with a more positive outlook.
Another way is to reframe stressful situations into something humorous. Someday, you’ll likely look back at that event and laugh at how you reacted. As a result, you’ll find laughable aspects of that situation, which can even induce laughter.
Keep stress at bay
The last step is practicing new techniques to tone down the intensity and volume of your stress response. You can do deep breathing exercises, face the challenge head-on, or craft a self-care tool kit. It takes some time to experiment with the proper techniques, but you’ll eventually find one that works for you.
Stress is a normal part of everyday life, but we shouldn’t let it dominate our decisions and responses. Learning to control our perception towards distressing incidents helps us change how stress affects our happiness and overall health. Make sure to follow the steps above and witness yourself deal with everyday hassles with a more courageous attitude.