The latest research has identified several different kinds of thoughts that typically lead to stress. I call these “Hot Thoughts,” meaning they will usually lead to a significant experience of stress. I’ve included a summary of some of these thoughts so you can identify any that are at work in your life.
- All-or-Nothing Thoughts. Individuals with these hot thoughts tend to see things in absolute black-and-white categories. Example: “Either I am perfectly competent in everything I do, or I am a failure.”
- Overgeneralization. People with these thoughts assume bad events will happen over and over, or that things are always a certain way. Example: “The neighborhood dogs will always choose to relieve themselves on my lawn.”
- Mental Filter. This type of hot thought causes a person to focus on the negative parts of life and filter out the positive. Example: “My job is awful because I don’t get paid enough.” (But you will overlook the fact that he has good work conditions, hours, etc.)
- Magnification and Globalization. People with these hot thoughts magnify their mistakes and make them a big deal. Example: “I’m terrible with the kids becasue I just yelled at them.”
- Personalization. These hot thoughts lead a person to accept blame for negative events involving others. Example: “My family would be well adjusted if it weren’t for me.”
If you are really ready to calm yourself down and defeat the power of stress in your life, your job is to confront these Hot Thoughts directly. Start by taking an inventory of your thoughts when ever you start to feel stressed out. My guess is you will see those Hot Thoughts surface almost every time! Then begin to label the stress inducing thought like this, “That is just a globalization” or “I’m just overgeneralizing again”. You will be amazed at how quickly this strategy will help you stress less!
(P.S. This is an excerpt from my latest book, “Stress Relief for Life,” which you can find at bookstores everywhere or at http://www.amazon.com/Stress-Relief-Life-Practical–stressing/dp/1616383577/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1315351344&sr=8-1)