This stress management technique is one of the stress management techniques that comes up in my main article about stress management. You can read my main article about stress management here if you like.
This technique is to interrupt an internal thought process when it goes astray. The more technical term is to interrupt the CBT Cycle. In a nutshell, the technique is to understand the CBT Cycle and how it works.
CBT is short for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. It shows that our thoughts influence our feelings which in turn affects our behaviour, and the cycle continues.
Knowing this, to interrupt the CBT cycle with positive affirmations helps to reduce the stress or anxious levels.
For instance a “bad” CBT cycle might look like this: The thought is “I’m unwell” which could lead to an “anxious” feeling which could lead to a “go into myself” behaviour and so the CBT cycle continues in a downward direction
A “good” cycle might look like this: The thought is “I’m doing OK” which could lead to an “upbeat” feeling which could lead to “making choices” behaviour and so the CBT cycle continues in an upward direction which is good for reducing stress or anxiety. This is good for life in general.
One good practice when you have some time is to repeat silently to yourself positive affirmations that are applicable in your case and that can help create good feelings. I find repeating silently to myself one or two or three positive affirmations is helpful. Examples include “I’m doing OK”, “I’m doing fine” and “I have things to work on”.
Repeating them silently to yourself in a safe secure place where you do not need to be 100% focused on another activity and you do not need to be 100% alert is a good idea. Therefore, do not do this when driving a car or operating machinery or anything similar. A great place to do this is your bedroom.
It is important to realise that “not great thoughts” can come and go. This is normal. The trick is to acknowledge them and go back to what you were doing before hand. I know that this is easier said than done.
It is also important to realise that if emotions are involved here that it is extremely important for them to be processed properly. Ignoring “bad” emotions is not recommended. It may be ok to ignore “bad” emotions in the short term, however do not allow them to “stay” without “processing” them properly. I discuss this in more detail in another of my articles at this website.
Also do not personalise the emotion. For example, do not think silently “I am anxious” however to think silently “ah, there is that anxious feeling”. And then to focus your attention back to what you were doing. This concept is also used in meditation, which is another great technique.
From personal experience, I can say that this technique does work on occasion. Why not give it a go and see if it works for you?
If you find that repeating silently certain affirmations makes you feel worst instead of better, that may be a hint for you to revise that affirmation or at least to drop it for the moment. You need to be kind to yourself.
Make sure that the affirmation does not have a “must” in it, but rather a “prefer”. For example, saying “I must be well” to yourself when you and your body know that this is not realistic puts more pressure on yourself. Instead saying “I prefer to be well” is a better affirmation in this case, in my opinion.
You might have noticed that this point, using the word “prefer” instead of “must” is discussed here.
Another option is to use the word “choose”. For example “I choose to be well”. There is no hard and fast rule. Just see which one resonates with you the most and which one makes more sense to you. You might find yourself using both. That is ok, as there is no hard and fast rule.
You can read my list of my top stress management techniques that work great today here if you like.