22 May 2019

Tactics to challenge stressful thoughts

MHA Monahans Tactics to challenge stressful thoughts

Everyone feels ‘stressed’ at some point in their lives, and probably on frequent occasions, especially if you are juggling work and home life, with all the demands that come with both.

Coping with stress is not only about trying to manage external pressures, so stressful situations don’t seem to happen quite so often, but also about developing emotional resilience, to cope with tough situations when they do happen.

When you feel focused and in control, you are more likely to feel capable of rising to any challenge. It is useful to experiment with new ways of approaching or reacting to situations you regularly find yourselves in, and also challenging thought patterns that are familiar but don’t always lead to the most effective results.

The below are common thoughts that can leave individuals feeling stressed but which, when challenged and reframed, can instantly boost mood, energy and effectiveness.

Stress thought: ‘I’ve got too much to do.’

You probably do have too much to do and it’s likely to be because you keep adding to your ‘To-do’ list without asking yourself if you really need to do it. Instead of automatically adding to it, instead think about what you might drop off the list. Note down tasks and jobs that can be delegated, done differently or removed from your list altogether. It’s one thing to be busy but the aim is to be effective, so allow time to plan, delegate, then do.

Resilience: ‘I take steps to ensure I am effective at all times.’


Stress thought: ‘I don't have time.’

Not having enough ‘time’ is actually a question of priorities and planning. If you allow yourself time to plan, you will find you save more time in the long run because you will be working either work more efficiently or spend time on higher priority areas. In addition, planning brings with it a sense of control and focus rather than a sense of spending too much time being reactive and feeling overwhelmed.

Resilience: ‘I plan to make the best use of all my time.’

Stress thought: ’I can’t believe that happened again.’

One of the biggest stressors for many people is repeatedly finding themselves in situations where the outcome is not to their liking. A useful guideline to follow here is that you’re not allowed to complain about something, or someone, without coming up with a strategy to improve the situation should the same circumstances arise again. Things happen every day that we can’t predict or control. What we can take charge of is how we react to these situations and what we learn from them that will help us grow in the future.

Resilience: ’No matter what happens, I take control for how I respond and learn lessons for the future.’