Don’t let stressful, negative thoughts hijack your happiness!
When the National Safety Council reports that as much as 80% of all disease and illness is initiated and aggravated by stress, it may make you take stress reduction more seriously.
But where does stress really begin? Unless we catch it where it starts, it’s going to be challenging to combat it, right?
According to clinical neuroscientist, board certified psychiatrist, brain imaging expert, Dr. Daniel G. Amen, often, it is your AUTOMATIC NEGATIVE THOUGHTS (ANTs) that are the root of your stress.
Yes, what we think is powerful! And unfortunately, our thoughts lie – they lie a lot.
So, if you want to enjoy a vibrant, brain-healthy life, in addition to taking brain-healthy supplements, eating brain-smart foods, getting plenty of rest, water, and exercise – correcting your negative thinking to reduce your internal stress is key!
Sounds good. But how do you change your thoughts?
Dr. Amen is a fan of a method developed by bestselling author and speaker Byron Katie, called the Work. The Work consists of writing down any bothersome, worrisome, or negative thoughts, then asking yourself four questions and doing what’s called a turnaround.
The goal of the Work isn’t pie-in-the-sky positive thinking; it is accurate thinking.
When we correct our ANTs, we reduce our stress, and it becomes easier to make better choices and lead brain healthy lives!
Here are the 4 questions to ask:
- Is it true? (Is the negative thought true?)
- Can I absolutely know that it is true?
- How do I react when I think that thought?
- Who would I be without that thought? Or, how would I feel if I didn’t have that thought?
Find out how one of Dr. Amen’s patients, Gina, used the Work when ANTs threatened to sabotage her efforts to lose weight before her wedding day…
Gina was hoping to lose weight before her wedding. After shedding some pounds initially, she gained a pound after the third week. She turned around a negative thought process that was triggered by the small weight gain by following the questions.
Question #1: Is it true that you will not lose weight in time for the wedding? “Yes,” she said.
Question #2: Can you absolutely know that it is true that you will not lose the weight in time for the wedding? Initially, she said yes. Then she said, “Well, maybe I will. Maybe this is just a temporary setback.”
Question #3: How do you feel when you have the thought, “I will never lose weight in time for my wedding? “I feel frustrated, and I feel like a failure. I’m afraid that I will be fat on my wedding day, “ she said.
Question #4: What would you be without the thought, “I will never lose weight in time for my wedding? “ She said, “I would just be happy that I’m getting married.” Turnaround: What is the opposite thought of “I will never lose weight in time for my wedding?” “I will lose weight in time for my wedding.”
Gina then felt a renewal of energy to keep watching what she ate rather than giving up on her diet.
You can begin reducing your stress by killing the ANTs and embracing more positive, accurate thoughts that guide you to make better choices and better brain health!