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Getting Stressed by the Small Things

Getting Stressed by the Small Things

The Russian playwright Anton Chekhov is alleged to have said, “Any idiot can face a crisis — it’s this day-to-day living that wears you out”. We can all recognise this. You see mostly people can endure major traumas and heartaches with great resilience. They may have a rough time in the process, but invariably they end up in a stronger position. We are pretty robust creatures when it comes to the big things that happen to us.

But we can get incredibly wound up by unimportant and trivial things. For example, we can fly off the handle when our partner doesn’t put the cap on the toothpaste, or the internet goes down, or we find ourselves in a long queue. At these times our automatic thoughts become quite dramatic and we find ourselves thinking that the situation is ‘totally unreasonable’ or an ‘absolute nightmare’. We get hijacked by a growing snowball of negative thoughts which turn an inconvenience into a catastrophe. And, then we get stressed out by these thoughts. And ninety nine percent of the time, it’s all small stuff. Tomorrow, these thoughts will all be forgotten.

Can we do anything about it? Well, you are unlikely to stop these thoughts coming into your mind, or even changing them very much. Instead the trick is to try to change your relationship with the thoughts. It’s tricky, but you try and catch yourself noticing that you are having thoughts. You observe the thoughts rather than being getting lost in them. So, you might say, “Thank you brain, here we go again”. You nip them in the bud before you get carried away by them. It’s a simple technique, but not always easy to remember. But, it’s well worth practicing.

For NHS funded therapy for stress, anxiety or depression, phone (01208) 871905 or self-refer - [HERE

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