The level of stress felt is often linked to how you interpret events (e.g., following a lower result on an exam, you might say to yourself, “I am going to fail my session, that’s for sure”). An inner discourse made up of worries, negative anticipations, or devaluing creates anxiety and stress. Most of the time, these thoughts automatically come to your mind without always considering all the elements of the situation. That is why it is necessary to consider your perceptions in the control of stress and negative emotions in general.
EVALUATING THOUGHTS THAT PROVOKE NEGATIVE EMOTIONS
Do you ever say things to yourself that you wouldn’t dare say to your best friend or best friend?
Your emotions are an important source of information. When you experience negative emotions, stop for a moment, pick up a piece of paper and pencil, and then answer the following questions in writing.
- Specify your discomfort (e.g., “I feel stressed, stressed or depressed, depressed.”)
- Identify what you are saying to yourself (e.g., “If I don’t have an A, I am pocket.”)
- Analyze your inner discourse (e.g., “Is what I’m telling myself correct?”, “Is it a hypothesis or a certainty?”, “Is their experiences that contradict this way of thinking?”)
- Add nuances (e.g., “Is it useful to talk to me in this way?”, “Is it so serious?”, “Am I responsible?”, “What more can I say to myself and more useful?”, “How could another person see what is happening to me?”, “What are my skills in this situation?”)
Some behaviors can increase anxiety and depression to a greater degree. Here are a few examples:
All or nothing :
Your thinking is not nuanced. You classify things into only two categories: good and bad (no gray areas). Therefore, if your performance leaves something desired, you view your life as a total failure.
Example: black or white, good or poor, perfection or failure, never or still, everything or nothing.
Excessive generalization :
A single unfortunate event appears to you to be part of an endless cycle of failures; you derive a general rule from particular cases.
Example: if once, always; if not now, never; if a negative element, everything is negative; if discomfort, panic.
The filter :
You choose a negative aspect, and while ignoring the other important aspects, you dwell so much on this little detail of the situation that your whole view of reality is skewed. It is like a drop of ink that tints a full container of water.
Example: thinking about your partner sending you a negative comment, disregarding the positive comments.
Rejecting the Positive :
You reject all of your positive experiences for all kinds of reasons, saying they don’t matter. This way, you preserve your negative image of things, even if it conflicts with your everyday experience.
Example: not believing a compliment, telling yourself that the person “just wants to be nice”.
Rushed conclusions :
Without fact-checking, or even if no concrete fact can support your interpretation, you leap to a negative conclusion. You foresee the worst while already having the conviction that your prediction will be confirmed.
Example: thinking that the other “must think I don’t look smart”, despite the objective fact that this person behaves correctly.
Exaggeration (dramatization) and minimization :
Negative events are treated as catastrophes, rather than more relative. You magnify the importance of certain things and minimize the importance of other things until they seem insignificant to you.
Example: exaggerating your flaws or someone else’s success and downplaying your good qualities or the other’s imperfections.
Emotional reasoning :
You assume that your darker feelings necessarily reflect the reality of things; you assume that emotional reactions reflect the real situation.
Example: deciding that because someone feels hopeless, the situation is hopeless.
“I must” and “I should” :
You try to motivate yourself with “I should” or “I should not” as if, to convince you to do something, you have to fight or punish yourself. It makes you feel guilty.
Example: “I must have the best grade”.
Instead of referring to specific actions, you put an overall negative label on yourself, using very colorful and emotionally charged words.
Example: “I am a loser”.
You consider yourself responsible for an unfortunate event when in fact, it was caused by other factors.
Example: “if I had not told him that, the accident would not have happened”.
CONTROL YOUR WORRIES
- Is it difficult for you to tolerate the uncertainties?
- Do you tend to always contemplate the worst?
Anxiety can be generated by worry, thoughts about negative possibilities (e.g., worrying about not finding a job when you graduate, not being admitted or admitted to a limited program). The starting point for concerns is the confusion that sometimes presents as: “what will happen if …”, “all of a sudden that …”. The greater the certainty that you are in danger, the more you may be nervous or anxious. Such theories often refer to the inability to react if the dreaded “disaster” strikes. Because worries are hypotheses about what might happen – not facts – it is important to assess them to control your anxiety.
Take a piece of paper and a pencil, write down your different concerns and try to answer the following questions. This exercise will allow you to identify each concern’s veracity, assess the likelihood of it happening, and assess the real impacts.
- What am I afraid of? What are the facts that fuel this concern? Who are those who do not support it? What’s the worst that can happen?
- How likely is this to happen?
- If what I fear happens, what will be the consequences for me, for my future? How tolerable would these consequences be?
- Have I ever experienced a similar situation, or have others experienced it? What happened?
- How could I envision this situation a year from now? In five years?
Worries will weaken the ability to enjoy the moment. Try to focus on the process, not just the goal you want to achieve. Sometimes, a tendency to look only at the goal leads you to feel overwhelmed, overwhelmed by the scope of the work to be done (e.g., “I won’t have enough time!”) And generates doubts (“is this? that I will get there?”). Directing your attention to the process and steps to reach your goal raises more stimulating questions:
- What should I do now to increase my chances of success?
- Should I start with this or that?
- What resources can I call on to help me?
BE LENIENT WITH YOURSELF
- Do you tend to hold high and rigid demands?
- How much do you compare yourself to others?
- Do your goals cripple you more than they stimulate you?
- How often do you feel dissatisfied, even when you are doing well?
- Do you have difficulty giving yourself the right to make mistakes?
You can’t consistently stand out from the crowd in college, and for this reason, it’s often more beneficial to compare yourself… to yourself. There is nothing wrong with ambition, but too high demands may discourage and cripple you more than stimulate you. Some factors are beyond your control; that way, you could do your best and still be dissatisfied or dissatisfied. You will then tend to think that what you have done was not enough, to belittle yourself, while redoubling your efforts, to achieve … perfection? This attitude is often characteristic of perfectionist students (Perfectionism). They are eternally dissatisfied who maintain doubts about their abilities, despite many facts that demonstrate their value as people or future professionals. To relax your expectations and requirements a little:
- find goals that depend on you as much as possible. Setting smaller goals often makes it easier to reach or even exceed them (which increases self-confidence rather than decreasing it). The norm should not be set outside of oneself, but from within;
- Evaluate what imposing all these requirements on you and identify the inconveniences this causes you (e.g., exhaustion, loss of the pleasure of studying);
- beyond a certain threshold, the efforts made harm you more than they help you (e.g., stop studying for a well-prepared exam, rather than reassuring you by constantly checking up to the last minute );
- remember no trial, no error and no error, no learning;
- and then what would happen if you lowered your standards a little, your criteria? How does it matter if someone is better than you at something?
Controlling anxiety and stress comes through controlling our perceptions of ourselves and events. Take action when your thoughts and attitudes cause anxiety and negative emotions: If you need help to control anxiety and stress, Kentucky case management experts provide case management services both on an in-person and remote basis. We provide addiction case management, behavioral health case management, and other services for people with various needs and concerns.