How to be More Positive in a Stressful Situation

This blog is meant to be a compilation of positive change based on my reflection about my life and those around me. None of us are perfect. BUT we can continue to strive for improvements within our thoughts and behaviors. Also, we can give ourselves the permission to celebrate where we are and where we’ve come from. I’ll write about topics that include fitness, nutrition, mental health, social wellness, and relationships. To start, I’d like to share a journal entry from last month on the topic of automatic negative thoughts. These are thoughts that aren’t kind to yourself but happen unconsciously.

The Situation

It’s Tuesday and I have an interview for a Counseling Practicum at CCERC – my number one choice for my practicum for Spring 2018. I’m not nervous. (Okay maybe a little..) I’m good with people. I’ll just be myself. Here’s my plan of attack to get ready for the day.

  1. I go to Heat Studios at 7:15a to get some endorphins going. I always feel better when I work out – duh- and I know that exercise gives me clarity that I hope to take with me into the interview.
  2. Breakfast at Manhattan Café. First of all – have you ever been to this place? There is a special soul that takes our order every time. Having her take my order is enough to calm my nerves because she’s just SO FRIENDLY. Don’t you love when people can be so gregarious working in what can be a monotonous job? Life is 100% what you make of it. This girl inspires me and I’m feeling more relaxed.
  3. Mock interview with Nathan at Manhattan Café. Nathan asks me some questions that he thinks the interviewers will ask. I talk through some answers and wrap my head around my purpose and mission within counseling. Cool, I passed the boyfriend interview.
  4. Off to the interview. I have 15 minutes to say something smart, make a few jokes, and connect with the 3 faculty members on a personal level. Interview over. Now we wait.

Here Come the Negative Thoughts

It’s Wednesday and I’m…

(-) kicking myself for not shaking the one interviewer’s hand that came in late.

(-) annoyed that I rambled during the first question.

(-) mad I didn’t use my time wisely because I didn’t get to say some closing thoughts.

…This is called a negative inner voice. Why am I so critical of myself? There are a dozen things that I did well but I focused on all of the little things that I should have done differently. Catching myself in this moment is a step in the right direction. <Intervene>.

Positive Reframe

(+) I began telling myself how personable and relatable I was in the interview.

(+) How I answered the diversity question really well and was authentic in my response.

(+) How I made the interviewees laugh several times.

Noticing when we are automatically producing negative thoughts is step one. Acknowledging them is step two. Finding positive things to focus on is step three. Repeat regularly when negative self-talk comes out. The thing is, negative thoughts produce more negative thoughts. The other thing is, positive thoughts produce more positive thoughts. Positive thoughts also lead to confidence which lead to opportunity which leads to more positive thoughts. You get the cycle. It’s a practice but one worth the effort.

Take Action: Answer one of these questions below and post on social media with the hashtag #resilienceondraft and #positiveselftalk.

I…

  • like myself because…
  • feel good about…
  • have a natural talent for…
  • know I will reach my goals because I am…
  • am successful at…

Let’s start a new conversation with ourselves and hold each other accountable. <3

6 thoughts on “How to be More Positive in a Stressful Situation

  1. Interesting enough, people say 3x negative thoughts compared to positive thoughts. This is good stuff- keep it going!

    1. Sadly this doesn’t surprise me. Why do you think that is? I wonder if there are differences across cultures. I’m just thinking what effect the high pressured, individualistic cultures have on our negative thoughts, if any. Thanks for the encouragement and you will definitely see more! 🙂

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