So here’s the last exercise, I promised you, following on from last week’s mindset exercise, that will help you use the information you’ve gathered so far to change the way you think and therefore lessen your stress and make revising for your Level 4 Diploma RO exams much easier.
So stress then – what the heck can you do about it? It’s all very well identifying the problem quite specifically, but as no earthly point in doing that unless it puts you in a position to change things for the better. So let’s stick with our 2 examples from last week and move on to the third exercise – the mood improver.
Basically, what this exercise forces you to do, is first of all refer to a specific event, so you’re not just catastrophising and generalising in your brain, but addressing hard facts. And then I ask you to find the evidence to support your negative thought. Next you have to find evidence that doesn’t support that negative thought. In other words the case for the defence! Finally I ask you to create an alternative and more balanced positive thought and in doing so notice how your mood improves.
Let me demonstrate what I mean.
Date/time: 4 PM, Friday
Situation: Co-worker asks for help.
Mood: annoyed, frustrated
Rate your mood: 3/10 on the happiness scale!
Automatic thought: Why can’t they just get on with it? I’ve got too much to do already, without having to do their work for them as well.
Evidence to support that thought: I have 4.30 meeting, and need to finish this report to take it with me.
Evidence that doesn’t support that thought: We probably won’t have time today to go through my report anyway.
Alternative balanced positive thought: I feel proud that he feels comfortable enough to ask me for help, rather than to cock it up and cause us all grief. I’ve always encouraged my staff to ask questions and I always have time for them.
Rate mood now: 8/10 on the happiness scale!
Date/time: 9 AM, Thursday
Situation: Exam results arrive
Mood: despondent, depressed
Rate your mood: 2/10 on the happiness scale!
Automatic thought: I just can’t do it. I’m not good enough. I’ll never get my diploma. I’ll lose my job.
Evidence to support that thought: Failed another exam. Don’t know what else to do.
Evidence that doesn’t support that thought: I’m a capable, successful Human being.
Alternative balanced positive thought: I’m resourceful. I need to do something different. I can find out how other people have passed their exams. If other people can do it, then so can I.
Rate mood now: 6/10 on the happiness scale.
I’m sure you get the idea. The important thing is, if you are trying to get into new automatic habits, you must practice.
And there’s a logical progression to the three exercises I’ve shown you last week and this. Make sure you spend enough time with each to do it justice before you move onto the next. I suggest at least several days with each. I guess it depends how vigilant you are about writing everything down as you notice things cropping up. It’s not a race. No one’s marking your work. If you think this would be useful to you, then take your time over it.
These three exercises are in the resources section of the website for the members, if you want to check the questions again.