The impact of negative thinking on our stress level. If you are familiar with this blog and have been reading for a while, you are likely already well-acquainted with the modern stress model or in other words, the events that result in a physiological stress response.
The impact of negative thinking on our stress level
If you are not familiar with it, the following is a recap of the key points:
When a person considers something as stressful, any negative thoughts and/or emotions he has come together in this phase.
When a person goes through psychological stress, he will likely also face mental stress.
If psychological stress is left uncontrolled, it will prompt the physiological stress response. A person can then experience the physical signs of stress such as a fast heart rate and sweaty hands whether or not he is active.
Keeping your thoughts in check
In examining the modern stress model, we could surmise that physiological stress only comes about in times of mental stress.
However, mental stress doesn’t manifest on its own. It comes as a result of a person’s thought processes and emotions headed in a particular direction.
So it stands to reason that if you want to eliminate physiological stress, you need to eliminate mental stress first.
What causes us to think in a particular way?
A lot of times, people get down on themselves over the way that they think and feel in certain situations. This is especially prevalent when they are facing common stressors.
A person’s response to common stressors are the result of three particular facets:
DNA – Your biological makeup contributes to your habits and temperament. Since you also have your parents’ genes and chromosomes, it is reasonable to say that you have part of their personalities. The other component factored in is the way you were raised by your parents.
For example, if your parent exhibits any kind of impatience or aggressiveness, you may exhibit the same tendencies because of your biological makeup.
Childhood – What a person experiences and how they respond to different things in their childhood have a significant bearing on how we develop as adults. Psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud knew this. He surmised that the childhood that a person experienced provided a lot of insight into how they were shaped as adults.
Of course, this also includes how we respond to stressful situations. Our response to stress was conditioned when we were children. As such, it largely determines how we will respond like adults.
It is something important to keep in mind as we seek to raise this current generation. They are not only taking in the world as a whole, but they are learning – often by example – how to respond to certain stressful situations.
Life Itself – Just as your biological self and experiences in your childhood make up a small part of you in totality, experiences as you grow into adulthood also have an impact on how you respond to stress.
Obviously, we cannot change experiences in the past, but we can take active steps to change our current values and beliefs. Negative experiences cannot determine how we exist in this present day.
Since you are now well-versed in the workings of the mind and why it responds to stressors the way that it does, let’s explore how we can control stressful and unstable thought patterns.
If something is considered unstable, how easy is it to control?
Your thought patterns are a deeply powerful thing, yet they are never more powerful than you. When you have a thought, no matter how negative or destructive, it can never control you. It does not have a life of its own and can never stand alone. Any negative thoughts you have can be overcome.
Easy Mind Control Exercise
A quiet place is essential for this exercise. During your time in this exercise, take note of five of the most horrifying thoughts that have crossed your mind over the past several months.
Directly underneath those five horrifying thoughts, write down five exquisite or beautiful thoughts that stand in direct contrast to those five horrifying things.
Allow the power of your mind to focus on each of the horrifying thoughts and then command your mind to eliminate those thoughts.
Once those horrifying thoughts have been eliminated, imagine that a blank space has now taken their place. Imagine placing the exquisite thoughts in each blank space to replace the old horrifying thoughts that have just been cast out.
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Continue the exercise for as long as you need to – until you are satisfied with the result, and then repeat the exercise the next day