Stress is the story you’re writing!

20 Aug

Stress doesn’t happen to us folks….our thoughts happen and they create stress. But guess what– we control our thoughts!

The story you create will convince you of what and how to feel.  It goes in that order– event, thought, feeling, behavior.

“Five clients cancelled their appointments with me this week, Kori. I’m completely stressing about how to make ends meet this  month.  Then the quarterly tax bill rolled in and now I feel completely out of control. I can’t concentrate. My sessions with the clients who are showing up are suffering….I don’t know what to do!”

Event: clients cancelled

Thought: I’m can’t make ends meet this month

Feeling: Overwhelmed, anxious, out of control (STRESSED!)

Behavior: Catastrophizing, ruminating, and poor concentration and performance.

Not ideal.

Task #1: Identify the facts (evidence based)

Fact: 5 clients cancelled

Fact: tax bill was received

Task #2: Identify and dispute the distortions and irrational beliefs

Not fact: I’m out of control ,the world is caving in and I’m being engulfed (this is a thought- not a fact- and has no evidence to back it up; it has never happened )

Not fact: The clients cancelling and the tax bill are connected (“When it rains it pours” type thinking).

Task #3: Identify what you can control

There’s always something you can control– that “always” is your perception.

There is always something you can’t too, and that is change– it’s inevitable. You get to decide where to focus.

Task #4: Assess and bolster your resources

We have internal and external supports that can help us to cope with changing circumstances– buffers, so to speak.

External: friends, family, groups

Internal: self-efficacy (belief in the ability to influence events and have an impact on your life); optimism (viewing events as opportunities for growth and learning); awareness (a sense of reality in time and space and the ability to be present focused)

Stress is a response to a stimulus based on how you perceive the stimulus. If you see, assess, and evaluate your experience, you can control your level of distress. This is mindfulness.

Gandhi said, “Be the change you see in the world.”

And Gandhi wasn’t a stress case!


6 Responses to “Stress is the story you’re writing!”

  1. kpropst September 11, 2013 at 7:19 AM #

    Reblogged this on peakofmind and commented:

    It never ceases to amaze me how often I hear the words “I’m stressed” or “I can’t” or “I’ll be happy when…” or the piles of negative comments or unempowered language that we use to describe our circumstances and “lot in life.” We create our internal physiology just by how we view who and how we are. If you are stressing about your weight, your bodies, the number on the scale, you’ve embodied the little scientist standing in the lab concocting the just-right mixture of unhealthy body chemistry that leads to the problems you want so badly to move further away from. If you want to lighten up physically, you have to lighten up emotionally and mentally. The stories you are writing are antagonistic and harsh, and your bodies live these stories out. Time to re-read, revise, and revive your story.

    • Duresa Forsberg September 11, 2013 at 12:42 PM #

      I like your outlook and advice. My question is how do you start on the right path with more positve thinking? I’m really,really struggling with that right now and have been for a good 3 years or more!? I need to connect my mind to my body on a positive note somehow and I’m not sure how or where to start with that?? Thoughts?

      • kpropst June 21, 2014 at 12:12 PM #

        Hi, Duresa. So sorry I’m just replying to your comment. I didn’t even see it! My apologies!
        You’re right that you have to start somewhere! Sometimes it can feel like you’re faking it– “fake it ’til you make it”.
        But there is the strategy of acting “as if.” If you were not spending time focusing on the negative, what would you spend your time focusing on?
        A place to begin would be to identify 3 things you are grateful for each day. Do it when you wake up or do it at night before bed. Or both. 🙂
        Also, just noticing when you’re thinking negatively is a positive place to be. That recognition is paramount to change. Instead of feeling like you have to change the thought, you can just notice it– observe it. YOu can respond to it with something like, “Oh! That’s an interesting thought” and ask “what are the other possibilities here. We get so used to thinking a certain way, negativity can become automatic. But so can positivity. Play devil’s advocate with yourself by asking, “Wait…what are the alternatives here?”
        I’d love to hear about your progress. You have to do these things consistently and deliberately though for them to work and become regular!

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  3. Dimatteo September 3, 2014 at 7:32 PM #

    An interesting discussion is definitely worth comment. There’s no doubt that that you should write more about this issue, it may not be a taboo subject but usually people do not speak about these subjects. To the next! Cheers!!

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