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Last Updated: 05/03/2011
Having trouble recognizing your distortions?
Make a list of negative thoughts to help make you aware of ingrained negative thought patterns and try to substitute more realistic, positive thoughts.
Just simply… Stop, breathe, reflect, choose.
This procedure is one way to help derail stress that stems from distortions and negative thoughts:
Stop. Consciously call a mental time-out.
Breathe. Take a few deep breaths to reduce physical tension and help you relax.
Reflect. Ask yourself questions: Is there another way to view this situation? What would be the worst that could happen?
Choose. Decide how to deal with the source of your stress.
Stress doesn’t just come out of the blue… learn your stress warning signs.
Along with mental negative thoughts, you might also experience physical changes to your body such as clenching your jaw, holding your breath, sweaty palms, or tightening of your neck and shoulders. When you notice these signs mentioned, stop, breathe, reflect, and choose.
Take some time and schedule your worries .
You may find it helpful to structure your worry -- either by setting aside time to worry or creating a place to “hold” your worries. Set a timer for 15 minutes and write down everything you are worried about, and then put your worries away and allow yourself to be fully present.
Time to release the goose in the bottle!
When you find yourself jumping to conclusions or dwelling on the negative thoughts, the “goose in the bottle” exercise may help you challenge your thinking. Think about putting all your worries in a bottle, and then think about how you can release each worry by finding a simple solution to each one, then you have released the goose from the bottle!
Try one or two of these steps. Start today!
Peer Health Education Intern
California State University, Chico