In this article I will present techniques that will help you change your thoughts and ultimately change your life and relationship.
Your self-esteem and the way you perceive the world around you can have a negative influence on your relationship. Read more about self-confidence and relationships here.
The main stressors in your life, especially in times of uncertainty, are work and unemployment. Your job takes a lot of our time and energy. On the other hand, being unemployed brings a lot of uncertainty and takes away structure and financial security.
The way you perceive both the situation and your ability to cope with it can have a massive impact on your well-being by increasing your stress levels.
It is important to address and change your negative thoughts in order to positively change your life and relationship.
How to cope with work-related stress
Work related stress consists of 2 types of stressors: within your control and beyond your control. It is important to identify the stressors within your control and take positive steps to change them.
If the stressors are beyond your control, you might have to look at a way to change the way you think and respond to them. Read more about understanding your stressors and how to cope with stress here.
The following techniques will help you manage work-related stress and improve your quality of life:
- Maintain a healthy work-life balance. When you are stressed, you tend to focus your attention to the main cause of your stress. However, by neglecting other areas of your life and placing too much emphasis on the stress area, you tend to increase stress and find it harder to cope and be effective.
- Don’t get defined by your job. Even if your work brings you a huge amount of satisfaction, it is important to find your self-worth in different areas of your life.
- Manage your time. When you are under pressure, you could become overwhelmed and less effective. Use time management tools. There are effective time management tools that can help you learn how to prioritize the important tasks at work.
- Communicate clearly. Positive communications at work can help you cope with work stressors. However, when conflict arises and you feel lack of support from your managers or colleagues, developing communication skills can help you improve relationships at work and reduce stressors that resulted from a lack of clarity. Learn how to improve your communication style here.
How to cope with unemployment stress
Being out of work can be extremely stressful, especially when you have little or no control of it. However, there are different things you can do to keep yourself well until the next job.
- Stick to your previous sleeping schedule. When you don’t have a job, you will be tempted to sleep until late and go bed later. It is important to go to bed and wake up around the same time every day in order to prevent oversleeping or lack of sleep.
- Don’t spend the whole day searching for a new job. Schedule your time and plan your day ahead. Whilst is important to spend a lot of time job searching, you need to make sure that you spend some of your time engaging in activities you enjoy.
- Create a budget. It is important to create a budget and stick to it. Also, check if there are any benefits that you might be entitled to. Contact your bank and suppliers and try to make arrangements for any bill you might struggle paying.
- Remember it is all temporary. It’s difficult to see this when there is no end in sight, but sooner or later the situation will be over.
- Take care of yourself. When you are stressed, you tend to forget the activities you enjoy doing that help you focus on other things. However, this is the most important time to take care of you. Mediate, exercise, spend quality time with others and engage in activities that you enjoy.
- Find an online course. It will give you a sense of pride and it will keep you engaged. Not only you will learn a new skill, but also you will spend less time overthinking.
These techniques are beneficial when you deal with stress. However, your thoughts play the most important role in your ability to cope with stressful situations. Your thoughts can help you alleviate stress, but they can also worsen it.
Thoughts and stress- an overview
There are 3 factors that are involved in your assessment of a stressful event: the event, how you perceive it and how you assess your resources to deal with it. As you can see, the first factor is beyond your control. Nevertheless, the other two factors are the product of your thoughts.
Your interpretation of the situation and what you tell yourself about your ability to cope with it can aggravate stress. This is why people can perceive changes such as moving home or starting a new job as stressful, whilst others as exciting.
Evaluate the situation
The way you evaluate your current circumstances is based on your own beliefs, past similar experiences and the assessment of your ability to cope with them.
First step in understanding your thoughts is to pay attention to them and evaluate how they affect your stress levels. The second step is to objectively divide them into the following categories: helpful and unhelpful.
Helpful thoughts reflect reality, whereas unhelpful thoughts exaggerate the reality and underestimate your ability to cope with it.
Negative and unhelpful thoughts
You don’t consciously acknowledge all thoughts that go through your mind. However, your subconscious mind accepts and believes them without questioning. Despite their transitory nature, these thoughts can cause you stress and negative feelings.
When you think negatively about yourself, you become stressed, sad, anxious and frustrated. With time, this can lead to psychological and physical problems.
Challenge your thoughts
Most people believe their thoughts without questioning them. However, thoughts are not facts. In order to change your unhelpful thoughts, you need to believe your new, helpful thoughts.
By challenging your thoughts in a deliberate way, you can come to a new conclusion based on reality. In order to achieve positive thinking try to complete this exercise:
- Write down the evidence that supports your negative thoughts
- Write down the evidence that contradicts your negative thoughts
- Ask yourself if you are being overly negative
- Ask yourself if your thoughts are distorted
- Write down alternative thoughts that are more helpful and realistic
Develop constructive thinking
In order to develop constructive thinking you need to develop balanced optimism. Balanced optimism allows people to be prepared for the worst, but hope for the best. Balanced optimism believes in the best outcome, whilst remaining realistic about the situation.
Optimistic people tend to face challenges and looking for solutions to overcome them rather than give up. Some people are naturally optimistic. For those who are not, there are ways to cultivate optimism.
How to cultivate balanced optimism
- Challenge your negative thinking after a positive event.
- Think what role you played in the positive event.
- Find similar situations where you acted the same way.
- Identify this positive trait and accept it as part of your personality.
- Challenge your negative thinking after a negative event.
- Look for outside factors that might have negatively impacted the outcome.
- In case you cannot find any outside factors, think if there was anything specific happening to you at that moment (tiredness or stress).
- Accept the negative event, learn from it and move on.
- Don’t identify a negative trait that you can attribute to your personality.
Change your thoughts to change your life!
Your relationship with your partner and people around you can positively change by learning how to cope with work related stress and unemployment.
Start to implement the techniques I shared with you, cultivate balanced optimism and you will see how your life will start to improve day by day!
If you have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to answer them.
All the best,
(Accredited Counsellors, Coaches, Psychotherapists and Hypnotherapists)
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