Resilience builds within us when we look at problems in a creative way.
Our negative thoughts fall into patterns and here are six awareness tools to use.
Am I predicting the future as if I have a crystal ball?
“What if” or “Suppose that happens?”. When we try to predict the future it can set us up for failure before we even start. I remember in the past I dreaded that things would turn out badly, all because of a bad past experience. This is not living and you become gridlocked. Instead, a good friend told me to deal with things as they arose and to stop scenario thinking, she helped me live my life instead of constantly questioning it.
How would someone else, like a friend, think about the situation?
Why is it we’re very good at seeing how others can be helped and yet we don’t seem to live by our own advice? How many times do you say to a family member/friend “you worry too much!” or “why are you thinking the worst?”. It’s easy to give advice but when you have to solve your own problems it’s much harder. What would someone you admire do? What would you tell someone else?
What is the most realistic thing that would happen if my thought came true?
This kind of thinking helps you find solutions to your negative thoughts. Let’s say the negative thought is “diets never work for me and I always put the weight on again”. The realistic outcome would be you are back to where you started and you would have to find another way or consult someone on what they do.
Am I overestimating the risk involved?
This is one I am very guilty of and I need to stop thinking the worst. The truth is I’m afraid to walk my dog in this area because I have heard there is a bear nearby. In two years, I have never seen a bear here, no one has been attacked by a bear, bears usually run from humans and do not like human encounters. The risk is not balanced with reality and I need to stop fearing the worst.
Is there any other explanation?
Your boss isn’t reprimanding your supervisor who is always late and you are constantly covering for them. You feel like you’re complaints are going unheard.
But you don’t know the real situation. The management has written two warning letters to the employee.. this is their last chance before being fired. It’s confidential union information that the management is not allowed to share. They appreciate you subbing and are considering you for the supervisor’s job.
Can I stop thinking of the problem and instead create a solution?
When you catch yourself worrying about a situation five or six times a day without thinking of how you can change it or solve it, you get into a stressful downward spiral e.g. you feel extremely stressed at work because you always fight traffic and you dread your homeward journey. Solutions might be to take a bus and relax? can you car pool? can you arrange to change your hours? Can you leave earlier by being more organized? It’s solution oriented thinking.
Often our negative thoughts produce a stalemate situation and it’s hard to move forward when we keep thinking of problems. We can build resilience through our challenges because they give us experience in overcoming life’s hurdles.