Stress Management Workshop Key Points
Retraining Your Mind
In our stress management workshops, one of the key areas of focus in learning to manage your stress is practice of retraining your mind. One of the goals in retraining your mind is to examine and understand your patterns of thinking. There are many methods for doing this, but one of my favorites is to give yourself three to five minutes in which you will write down all the thoughts that you become aware of, keeping your pen to paper. Once the time is up, notice if there are any patterns in what you’ve written — for example, are your thoughts generally positive or negative, empowering or disempowering.
Sometimes our thoughts may
seem to spiral out of control because we are not examining them, but moreso reacting to them. When this occurs, stress is often the result. The act of writing about your thoughts may help to abate some of the emotions connected to them.
Stress Management Technique
A cognitive approach that may be helpful when your thoughts are stressful is called “Stop, Breathe, Reflect, Choose.” When you notice yourself feeling stressed, think or speak the word “Stop,” then take a deep breath in. You are saying or thinking “Stop” to put a break on the negative thoughts. The deep breath in triggers the body’s relaxation response. As stress is an emotional response, by triggering the relaxation response, you may then find it easier to move into your more centered self. The next step is to “Reflect.” You are reflecting on the full range of thoughts you can have. Out of that range, find the thought that is the most positive, and finally “Choose” to focus your attention on this more positive choice. Spend a few minutes reflecting on the positive thought.
Generally speaking, you are helping to generate stress through the thoughts and imagery you are choosing to focus your attention on. By taking responsibility for your thinking process and learning to change stressful thought patterns, you are assisting in the process of becoming more relaxed.
Latest Brain Research
The latest brain research shows that the same brain centers light up whether you are imagining something or if it is really happening. When you visualize something stressful, your mind perceives it as if it were happening in the present. With this in mind, it is important to learn to retrain your mind to focus on more positive images and thoughts so that you can stay more centered and relaxed, more of the time.