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Philip H. Mandel - NLP Coach and Hypnotherapist

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Stress Busters

Stress and worry on the job can be harmful! They cause physical and emotional problems that may damage both your health and your performance. Furthermore, stress grows! Excessive worry is a major element in the vicious cycle of tension: the physical sensations of stress - tense muscles, headaches, insomnia and so forth - lead to catastrophic stress-building thoughts, which in turn aggravate unpleasant physical feelings, and so on up the tension cycle. Soon, just the thought of preparing an assignment or meeting a deadline triggers all the symptoms of stress, along with an overwhelming wish to avoid tasks.

Fortunately, you can learn to avoid your "stress-building" thoughts and replace them with alternative "stress-busting" thoughts. When you are under stress, what messages are you sending yourself? Are they alarming or reassuring? You can decrease your stress by learning to talk to yourself in a reassuring way. This is what "stress-busting" is about - getting your thoughts back on a reassuring track.

Stress-busting thoughts come from what is called the "Rational You." The Rational You thinks its way through life's events, evaluating the degree of safety versus danger involved. What happens to the Rational You in a stressful situation? It gets pushed aside by stress building thoughts which disrupt concentration and productivity at work.

Become aware of how your stress-building beliefs affect your behavior. Replace them with more realistic and less stressful thoughts.

Helpful Techniques:
Keep a record of stressful situations and rate the actual level of stress from O (most relaxed) to 10 (most stressed). Start to monitor your stress before, during and after stressful events or situations. As you begin to observe your levels of stress, you will notice that these levels are not constant. You will find that stress levels increase when you are concentrating on your most alarming thoughts and bodily reactions, but stress levels fall when your attention turns away from these areas. This will show you that one way to reduce the level of stress in your life is to actively turn away from negative "stress building" thoughts and to concentrate on positive, stress-busting ways of thinking.

Replacing harmful thoughts with positive ones takes practice, and the results are worth it. Review the facts. What is your evidence? Is there another way to view the situation? If not, what is the worst thing that could happen? You may have been concentrating on the worst possible, but by no means the most likely, outcome.

Stress Builders and Stress Busters:

Stress Builder: "I'll never get this project in on time." Stress Buster: "If I stay focused and take it one step at a time, I'll make steady progress."

Stress Builder: "My supervisor didn't say good morning. He's probably displeased with my work, and I'll get a bad evaluation." Stress Buster: "I'm jumping to conclusions. My supervisor may have been in a bad mood. So far all my evaluations have been positive, so unless I get some negative feedback, I'll assume my supervisor is pleased with my work."

Stress Builder: "I can't get my mistake on page 53 out of my mind. The paper is ruined. I have disappointed everyone." Stress Buster: "No one is perfect. I did my best. I'm overreacting to one mistake when the overall report is fine."

Often, very useful facts and advice come from non-NLP sources. The above article is adapted from http://www.stressrelease.com/strssbus.html.

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