It was a huge privilege to be a key note speaker at the ‘Mental Health and Well Being Summit‘ in the Aviva stadium and to share the stage with some inspirational speakers including; Joe Schmidt and Brent Pope. My topic was ‘Training your thoughts to reduce stress and increase well being’ designed this seminar by using some key principals from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which has been clinically proven as one of the best forms of therapy for anxiety treatment, panic attacks, stress management and depression
CBT holds the premise that its not the situations we find ourselves in that disturb or distress us, rather its the things we tell ourselves and how we react to them that does the damage. A crucial step therefore; to reduce stress and increase well being is to identify and replace negative or disturbing thought processes
According to research, up to 80% of our thoughts are negative and 95% are the same as the day before! Talk about creatures of habit! Its important to know that stressful thoughts lead to stressful feelings which then manifest as physical symptoms. Applying this wonderful process of thinking about our thoughts helps us to begin to separate from them as opposed to becoming them
We can take this a step further by training our brain to focus on thoughts that bring about calmness and relaxation. (The opposite of stress and anxiety) Think of training your brain just like training your body. If you go to the gym once, you won’t see any difference, however if you train twice or three times a week for 8 weeks you will start to notice strength and muscle definition. The mind is a muscle too and will respond to being trained whether in a negative or positive way. So bearing that in mind, here are my top 5 tips for training your thoughts to reduce stress and increase well being
Think about your thoughts: Ask yourself ,What am I thinking about this situation that is stressing me out?
Name the thought pattern: Worrying, Catastrophe thinking, self criticism.
Challenge the thoughts: Where is the proof what I’m thinking is true? What assumptions am I making?
Ask empowering questions: What options do I have, what would help me to cope better? What support can I get? What advice would I give a loved one in this situation?
Replace stressful thoughts with calming thoughts: I can handle this, I am calm, relaxed and in control, I am capable and resourceful