Negative thoughts can become a self-fulfilling prophecy

How does one manage stress? Sometimes, it’s as simple as changing our outlook towards an event or situation.

We spend so much time worrying about “what might happen,” rather than “what is happening right now,” said

Esther Doucette, Social Worker at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute.

Doucette suggests that sometimes we need to change our outlook to experience events in a less stressful way.

While we all have stress in our lives, and some of it can be exhilarating, it is the long term stress that can have a negative impact on our health.

“We allow our brains to lead us to think of negative outcomes, even before the event occurs,” she said. “Recognizing this path and learning different ways to manage those thought patterns can be really helpful.”

Much of our stress is “perceived stress,” she said. “If we think something will be difficult, it ends up being difficult.  These negative thoughts can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

She offers the following tip: Take a moment to really think about the apparent stressor.

  • Is this something that I can change?
  • Can I take some control over the stressor?
  • Am I thinking of a realistic outcome or am I allowing my mind to create a negative outcome before it occurs?

It is important to notice our thoughts and how they are affecting us and then take some control over these thoughts before they perpetuate further stress.

Your friends and family may be able to help!  Talking to someone who can provide a different perspective regarding an event or situation can be helpful. Sometimes it might be helpful to talk to a professional who can help you to learn new ways of coping.

“It takes practice to learn to look at life events in a new way,” she said, “and changing our outlook isn’t easy. We get into a habit that’s hard to shake. Sometimes taking a step back and re-evaluating can be helpful.”

Leave a Reply