that match your stress style, chances are you are
having trouble regaining your normal resistance level
when dealing with stressful situations.
Cognitive restructuring is one of those 10-dollar
words that means something simple. In this case it
refers to changing your thinking. Most people have a
normal tendency to relate their feelings back to an
event without evaluating how their thinking toward
that event caused the feelings. The ABC model in
figure 3-9 shows us that the event itself does not
actually cause the negative feelings or stress
responses. Its how we think about the event that
determines the feelings.
If we want to reduce the
negative effects of stress, we can change the way we
think about the stressors.
THINKING THAT CONTRIBUTES TO
NEGATIVE FEELINGS. Some types of thinking
generally result in negative feelings or stress
responses. We need to evaluate our thinking to see if
we are contributing to negative feelings by engaging
in any of the following activities:
Catastrophizing. Catastrophizing is thinking that
this is the worst thing that could happen.
Sometimes we tend to let an event build up in our
mind until it seems overwhelming.
Polarizing. This is feeling that a situation must be
all good or all bad. We need to look beyond the part
of a situation that we dont like to see the benefits.
Living a Role Myth. This can be a positive or
negative role myth. Thinking that all salesmen are
underhanded and devious is a negative role myth.
Thinking that a parent must be perfect is a positive
role myth. Both can result in negative feelings when
we feel we need to live these roles.
Should and Oughta Being. When we start
thinking everything should or ought to be a certain
way, it is difficult to accept things as they are.
Personalizing. This is when we feel that
everything that happens to us is about us. A recruiter
whose applicant is permanently medically rejected
may feel that the military entrance and processing
station (MEPS) doctor is against him or her. In
reality, the MEPS doctor is doing his or her job and
most likely doesnt even know the recruiter.
MAKE SURE YOUR THOUGHTS ARE
RATIONAL. When evaluating your thinking, ask
yourself if the thoughts are rational. Are they real?
Are they helpful to you? Are they useful in reducing
conflict with other people? Do they help you achieve
short- or long-term goals? Do they reduce emotional
conflict? If the answer is no, you may need to let go
of those thoughts.
Try replacing them with more
CHANGING OUR THINKING. Using the ABC
model lets look at an example of a recruiter who
experienced negative feelings after a car pulled out in
front of him on the expressway.
The guy is a jerk.
He cant drive.
old people cant drive.
They should take away
When we evaluate the thoughts, we find the recruiter
is polarizing, using a role myth, and personalizing.
The thoughts are not rational. They do not help the
recruiter deal with the event at all. Rewriting the
thoughts will result in entirely different feelings:
Car pulls out
He probably didnt see
in front of
I bet he feels bad about it.
Thats happened to me
Im glad we avoided an
This may seem like a little thing, but its all the little
things that combine to push us out of our optimum
level of arousal and become overwhelmed.
Stress Is an Activation
Stress can be said to be an activation of our
thoughts. Lets review some of the techniques to
make sure stress activation does not take a negative