And what happens when we're wrong? Stress is generally the result.
For example, when we're faced with a situation that requires a thoughtful response and tests our abilities, we can see the situation as a threat or a challenge. When we see it as a threat, we immediately feel that we're in danger of something bad happening, and the body's stress response is triggered. We then become engulfed by a cascade of physical responses that prepare us to fight or run, and can also impact our thinking, responses, and sense of wellbeing, and can sometimes lead to the negative effects of chronic stress. When we see the same situation as a challenge, we may feel inspired to rise to the occasion and handle it at our best--or we may simply handle it in an adequate manner--but we generally don't feel stressed in the same way.
The key to whether we see a situation as a threat or a challenge? Simple thought patterns--"I can't handle this!", "This shouldn't be happening!" or "Yikes, what a disaster!" can lead to fear and stress, while other thoughts like, "I can handle this!", "These things happen," and, "What doesn't kill me makes me stronger!" can lead us to feelings of confidence, and enable us to handle more challenges without feeling stressed.
Whether we experience a situation as stressful, challenging, or even invigorating can depend largely on how we interpret the situation, and that can depend on our habitual thinking patterns. And being aware of our negative thinking patterns is the first step in being able to replace them with more empowering patterns of thought. That's why I love this quote from Wayne Dyer's lecture: "Don't believe everything you think!" If you can start noticing and questioning your negative thinking patterns, you can replace them with positive, empowering ones. By doing this, you can eliminate much of the stress that you're experiencing, before you even experience it!
Pessimists are shown by research to experience less happiness, fewer successes and poorer health, and tend to have very specific types of negative thinking patterns. Some common negative thinking patterns are called 'cognitive distortions', and include 'catastrophizing', 'all-or-nothing thinking', and several others. Below is more information on negative thinking patterns--learn about them and become more aware of which are a little too familiar, and you can start to weed them out of your experience!
Negative Thought Pattern Resources:
What are some of your 'favorite' negative thinking patterns? How do they affect your life? Share your experience in the 'comments' section, and please share this blog with (via the 'share' button) if you've found it to be helpful. Have a positive day!