Are You Stressing Yourself by Thinking Too Much?

Why is it that some people become totally stressed when the smallest thing goes wrong while others can cope with extraordinary amounts of pressure with it batting an eye?

There can be many factors at play here. We become more easily stressed when we are tired or unwell. But with all things being equal it is what we think about a situation that will determine whether we are stressed by it or not.

For example, let's look at two people waiting for a phone call from a potential romantic interest and how differently they respond when they do not receive the phone call.

Person A starts to fret and draws many conclusions about why the person hasn't called and will most likely start to think about all the times in the past that they have been let down in a similar manner. They might start to think things like - "men never call when they say they will, there must be something wrong with me because no one wants to go out with me, men are totally unreliable, no one is ever going to want to go out with me again etc." With all these negative thoughts and self-talk, person A is likely to become stressed, depressed and/or defensive.

Person B on the other hand simply thinks that the potential caller forgot, were busy or changed their minds. They may feel a little disappointed that the phone call did not occur but they do not get involved in a lot of negative thinking and simply let it go and get on with their day.

There are two important differences occurring with our two people.

Person A is taking it personally and is then inventing stories about the situation.

Person B is just sticking to facts. Person B is not dredging up the past and making things up about what is going on and is not jumping to conclusions about what this one missed phone call will mean to their future.

When you look at it like this, you see how ridiculous we can be, when we feel that someone has let us down. We search our past for every related incident and this makes us feel even worse and makes us project into the future and all we can then see is that we are going to be unhappy forever more.

But in reality what has really happened is that we have talked ourselves in to becoming stressed and unhappy.

If we want to stop stressing ourselves with our thinking we need to get control of our wandering minds and instead stick to the facts. With our missed phone call the facts simply are

1. Someone told us they would phone at a certain time
2. They did not phone when they said they would.
3. We probably feel disappointed

So those are the facts - the rest of it we invent.

So next time you are getting stressed, stop a moment and consider what the facts are and what you are inventing about those facts. You may even be able to stop the stress dead in its tracks and laugh at how our own minds can be our worst enemy.

Need ways to reduce your stress levels? See Kerry-Ann Cox's latest book "10 spiritual laws for stress reduction". For information go to It covers more ways that we stress ourselves with our thinking and how to get control or your mind and become calmer.

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