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Home / Stress Management / Positive Thinking
Stress Management

Positive Thinking

Avoid negative thoughts of powerlessness, dejection, failure, and despair. Chronic stress make us vulnerable to negative suggestion. Learn to focus on positives.

  • Focus on your strengths
  • Learn from the stress you are under
  • Look for opportunities in the stressful situation
  • Seek out the positive – make a change

Here is one way to get out of the destructive negative thinking habits. All possible situations we face can be classified into two categories:

One: Situations where we can do something about to change the outcome. In this case, don’t just sit there and worry about it. Go ahead and take care of it. You have control. Procrastination is the root cause for many stressful episodes.

Second: Situations where you have no control on the outcome. In this case sitting and worrying will not make any difference on the outcome. So, don’t worry about it. Let the situation resolve by itself; you cannot do anything about this anyway.
Dean Ornish talked about how our culture teaches us to dwell on the high stress activities. He gave this example: Two Arabs took their Mercedes car out for a spin in the desert. Although there probably was not another car in the 10-mile radius, these two guys managed to have a head-on collision. Now, if this happened in the USA or many other parts of the world, the drivers will be getting out of the car and showering each other with abuses, threats and remind the other person how stupid he was to cause the accident. What did the Arabs do after they had their cars totaled? They rush out of their cars, run to each other; hugs and says, "This is great! Allah, wanted us to meet."

Stress IS a choice.

Every day, I can CHOOSE to be happy or sad, stressed or relaxed, etc.

If things are getting hectic I ask myself, "What can I do about it today, right now?" 
Sometimes, the answer is "nothing." When that happens, I just try to go on about the business of taking care of what I CAN do, today, right now. 

If I have to stand in line, I can choose to watch the folks around me, look at the decorations, balance my checkbook, read a little of the paperback in my pocket, talk to a little child or old person-or I can silently bitch about standing in line until my blood pressure goes up and my feet hurt. It is a CHOICE!

Internet Discussion Forum

The key to moving on is forgiveness--of self and others. Although it is a waste of energy to worry about future events over which we have no control, it is human nature to do so. Plan and prioritize as best you can, and then be easy on yourself'. The future hasn't happened, and the past is not going to happen again. In the words of Ram Dass, "Be here now." You can start by recognizing and accepting when a situation is beyond your control.
And keep on practicing. Pythagoras said, "Choose always the way that seems the best, however rough it may be. Custom will soon render it easy and agreeable. "Just as patterns and habits can trap us when we let them, we can make them our well-worn path to happiness and satisfaction.

The "Serenity Prayer" of theologian Rheinhold Niebuhr, adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous, reflects this so well:

  • God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
  • courage to change the things I can;
  • and the wisdom to know the difference-
  • living one day at a time;
  • enjoying one moment at a time;
  • accepting hardships as the pathway to peace.

Another important sense is the sense of humor. In breathing new life into the old wisdom that "laughter is the best medicine," the late Norman Cousins transformed his own experiences into a message of healing and hope for millions.

Humor is a very important therapy for reducing stress. We will cover this in detail later.