stressed african businesswoman having headacheFeeling stressed?  Your self-talk – the conversation you carry on with yourself, in your head, all day, every day, about the real and imagined – could hold the key.  Are you often your own worse enemy, criticizing your own actions or deeds?  Do you discount the importance of your feelings? Do you compare yourself to others and come up short most of the time?  That voice inside your head is doing more damage than you know.

A Mayo Clinic, Healthy Lifestyle article titled “Stress Management,” says if your self-talk can be characterized by any of the following, it’s negative:

  • You magnify the negative aspects of situations and filter out the positive ones.
  • You blame yourself when undesirable things occur.
  • You anticipate the worst and see every mishap as a catastrophe.
  • You see things as either all good or all bad.  If it’s not perfect, you’re a failure.

Often times, the difference between an optimist and a pessimist is how their brain has been trained to see the world.  Pessimism can do more than turn other people off, it can impact your health.  Negativism adds to stress, which has been proven to be costly.

With a little work, a pessimist can be taught to view the world more positively.  According to the Mayo Clinic article, the benefits of positive thinking include a longer life span, less depression, greater resistance to the common cold, a healthier heart and better coping skills.

You can reduce your stress by decreasing your negative self-talk.  Some ways to do that:

  • Check in with yourself periodically throughout the day to evaluate what you’re thinking.  If it’s negative, consciously choose to find the positive spin.  Put that smart phone to good use by setting alerts that remind you to take your emotional temperature.
  • Look for things that you can change. Start small by identifying one thing to approach more positively.  For instance, maybe you have a negative phrase that you default to.  Something as simple as becoming aware of it and then striking it from your vocabulary could be the key to real emotional change. 
  • Surround yourself with positive people.  Emotions are often contagious.  Negative people can bring you down and make you doubt your own ability to manage stress and anxiety in healthy ways.
  • Practice positive self talk.  Counter negative thoughts with positive reminders of what’s good about you or your situation.  Use positive mantras to break up the downward spiral of negative thoughts.

These are just a few ways the article suggests that you can change your perception.  Learn more ways to turn your frown upside down.  And for daily inspiration and motivation that will help you LIVE BETTER NOW, join the growing Spirit of Purpose community on Facebook.

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