In times of uncertainty and stress, we can easily get caught up in a cycle of negative thoughts. While negative thoughts are part of being human, the unfortunate consequence is that our attention will remain fixed on the negative until we make an intentional effort to adjust our thinking. Inevitably, the choices we make and the interactions we have in relationships with others will reflect the nature of our inner dialogue.
Due to recent events in our country, individuals are noticing an increase in anxiety and depression. Fears related to job security, changes related to school operations, the stress of being quarantined, the unknown of what a new “normal” looks like.
While it’s not always possible to prevent unwanted change or stress, it is possible to adjust our thoughts related to them.
A great place to start is to identify the negative thoughts. It can be helpful to write them down to see if there is a common theme – anxiety or fear for example. Take some time to reflect on the possible root causes of your feelings.
The next step would be to challenge the negative thoughts. Can you find evidence for the anxious or fear based beliefs? It can be helpful to test your negative thoughts by separating your thoughts and feelings from reality.
From there, challenge yourself to replace the negative thought with one that is more realistic. For example, rather than “Going out isn’t safe, I will just stay stuck at home” a more realistic thought would be “Just because I feel afraid does not mean that I can’t consider what safe options I have outside of my home”. Over time, you will notice that if you can change your thinking, your feelings and actions will change as well.
If you are looking for support or guidance in learning more about yourself or you feel it is time to develop new coping skills for times of stress, sadness or uncertainty, GROW Counseling is here to help.
Written By: Michelle Rathburn