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Focus on what you can do – not what you can’t

Don - graduation from HS 001What do you say to yourself?

What do you say to yourself when faced with handicaps or obstacles that seem overwhelming?

Do you say, I can do that, or do you look at all the reasons why you can’t do it.

That internal way of thinking will influence everything you do. When under pressure to complete work within a limited time frame, or when things go wrong in your marriage or you don’t know how to talk with your teens, and your life seems like it is spinning out of control, what you say to yourself is critical.

Our thoughts and typical approach to life will either compound and add to the stress we are experiencing or we will find new ways to accomplish what we want.

Do you hear yourself repeating any of the ones below:

I’ll never finish in time

If I don’t do a good job, I might lose my job

I wish I could work as fast as Susie

If I don’t get this done soon, they will take their work somewhere else

I knew I couldn’t do it, so why did I try

These and other automatic thoughts streaming through our mind have an immediate response.

When our automatic thoughts are telling us “we can’t” and we are incompetent, we will doubt our abilities to try one more time.  Our focus will move from impossible problem to brainstorming solutions.

Don - Tarzan in our basementWe can maximize our energy and work capability by replacing negative thoughts with positive affirmations:

  • I am relaxed, capable and confident.
  • When I am relaxed, I think clearly and creatively
  • I am able to handle whatever challenge is placed before me
  • There are answers to every problem
  • I can ask for and receive help from God and others
  • I can do this
  • I reduce stress every time I stop, breathe deeply and slowly and let go of my tension
  • I focus on my job and maximize my abilities
  • I enjoy what I do and am happy doing it

These affirmations not only reduce stress, but become a self-directive enabling us to work at our optimum and maximize our abilities.  We will be able to find something positive in any situation no matter how dull or demanding.

One-Minute Tension Breaks

Because we live in a world that is going faster and faster, we are expected to do more and more while maintaining or improving the quality of our work. Competition is fierce. Stress turns to distress and becomes the norm.

Take a one minute tension break throughout the day whenever possible. Sit back in your chair for a moment, close your eyes and focus on breathing out tension and repeating a positive affirmation. We may not be able to take ourselves out of stressful situations, but we can control our reaction and responses to them.

Marlene Anderson, MA, LMHC, NCC

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