10 May Rewiring Your Brain to Deal with Stress More Effectively
Like this? Share It With a Friend!
Rewire Your Brain to Deal with Stress More Effectively!
We all experience different hardships. We also have all learned to deal with our stress differently. But one thing that IS the same about all of us is that when we encounter stress, we immediately determine 2 things:
- “What does this stressor MEAN to me in my life (primary appraisal)?”
- “Do I have the resources to deal with this effectively (secondary appraisal)?”
After you have interpreted the meaning of the stress, you decide how to deal with it.
Some people are more problem-focused and concentrate on the PROBLEM causing them stress, and how to deal with it. Other people are more emotion-focused and focus on how they FEEL and how to deal with their negative EMOTIONS.
Which kind of person are you?
Action: Identify if you typically use problem-focused or emotional-focused coping strategies when you get stressed.
Some people get so overwhelmed when they feel the creeping sensation of stress, that their logical thinking shuts down. They start to lose focus on the actual problem that is causing them stress, and start focusing only on their negative EMOTIONS and how miserable they feel. This is how to spiral yourself into anxiety and unhealthy behaviours.
Here’s the difference:
- Emotion-focused coping DOES help deal with your stress in the SHORT term. By dealing with your emotions first, you may feel initially less upset and anxious. But it’s important to maintain balance and try to engage your Problem-Focused thinking, too.
- Problem-Focused thinking is MORE EFFECTIVE to better deal with your stress LONG-TERM, as you will begin to create strategies for dealing with the actual problem that is causing you stress. This type of thinking naturally makes you more proactive in seeking out solutions.
Both strategies are important to help you deal with your stress. But when imbalanced, only focusing on emotional coping can make you avoid the situation. Consciously forcing yourself to switch to problem-based coping when you feel stressed will help you engage and proactively deal with the source of your stress. When practiced enough, this will start to become a habit and your natural approach to dealing with stress.
Action: Next time you feel stressed, ask yourself what exactly is the problem.
Master Your Stress: Reframe negative thoughts & practice optimism
When faced with life challenges, it’s easy to spiral into negative thinking and get worried or anxious. A powerful cognitive psychology strategy called REFRAMING is absolutely critical in helping you better manage your stress.
REFRAMING involves taking a step back from your negative/worried thoughts, and injecting more positivity, hope, optimism and trust in Allah ﷻ into your thinking patterns.
Let’s face it – most of the things that we worry about are worst-case scenarios that just make us unnecessarily anxious OR are about something in the future that we have ZERO control over at the present moment.
REFRAMING is when you critically examine EACH of your negative thoughts:
- Are your negative thoughts justified, or can you envision more positive outcomes?
- Does anyone else ACTUALLY care about this as much as you think they do?
- Are you fixating on “what-if” scenarios, instead of staying problem-focused and thinking about what you CAN do?
- Is the situation REALLY as awful as you are making it out to be in your mind??
Optimism can be difficult when you are worried or anxious, so forcing yourself to think through these questions can have a profound impact on how you view your situation. Instead of spiralling into feeling sorry for yourself and catastrophising your situation, pause and contextualise your stressor.
Gratitude is protective against stress.
We feel stress when we are dissatisfied with our current life circumstances, but reminding ourselves of the many blessings of Allah ﷻ in our lives is a way to reframe and refocus.
Some people are naturally more optimistic than others, but this is a skill that can be practiced. You can consider this practice “guided optimism”.
Do NOT revel in your negative thoughts and allow stress to overtake you. Challenge your stress. Force yourself to look at the bright side. The Muslim is naturally optimistic and hopeful for the blessing of Allah ﷻ, so inculcating this attitude in Ramadan is a spiritually worthy pursuit.
We all struggle with stress at various points in our lives, but the secret to mastering stress the willingness to practice cognitive reframing until optimism becomes a habit.
Remember: Coping with stress starts in your MIND.
You can go to the spa whenever you feel stressed to unwind… But until you reframe negative thinking to ensure that common life stressors don’t stress you out so easily, you’re going to be spending a LOT of time and money at the spa!
Stress management goes hand-in-hand with healthy food, exercise and sleep! Infact, getting enough sleep and exercising are essential ways to become better at coping with stress ebvery day, especially in Ramadan But, no need to stress out about how you’re going to fit it all in this year! Luckily, we’ve got you covered!
The Ramadan Reset eBook is your complete solution to healthy eating, exercise, sleep, coffee and so much more in Ramadan! With 90 dietitian-created recipes, full fasting fitness schedules for ALL levels, your Ramadan will never be the same! Click HERE to learn more!