Put things into perspective
Research indicates that our thoughts about the things that happen to us can have a surprisingly big impact on how we feel about and respond to situations. However, our thinking doesn’t always reflect reality and so scrutinising our own patterns of thought and challenging unkind or self-destructive thoughts can have a big impact on our wellbeing, behaviour and relationships with others.
Find out more at the Action for Happiness project website.
It is easy to believe that when bad things happen to us that it is the event itself that is driving how we feel as a result which then causes us to react or behave in particular way. For example when we feel a surge of anger after someone pulls out in front of us when we are driving or guilt when we miss a deadline.
However, research has now shown that it is not the event itself that causes the emotional reaction but the automatic thoughts that run through our head in immediate response to the event. But our emotional reaction can be so fast that our thoughts aren’t obvious.
Whilst in many situations our thoughts and so our emotional responses will be appropriate, there can be times when they are not. If our thoughts are inaccurate, particularly in response to negative events, they can drive stronger emotions and reactions than need be. What’s more we can fall into patterns that can be detrimental to our happiness not just in that instant but longer term.
There is now strong evidence to suggest that if we can become skilled at recognising our thoughts in response to things that happen and when these are inaccurate, we can become better at understanding and managing our emotional responses and so at choosing our reactions.
This can have a significant impact on our own happiness as well as on our interactions with the people we live, work, or study with.
Consider the power of language when it comes to mental health in this article on the Thrive website.
The Thrive Programme: get some perspective
Psychology Compass can help your anxiety and negative thoughts, and get things in perspective, with their 7 tactics