The way you think about a situation can cause stress. These thoughts, based on irrational thinking, increase the perceived demands of a situation and/or decrease the perceived resources so that you evaluate a situation as a danger, coming to distort reality and causing stress, both in daily life and at work.
These thoughts can be negative automatic thoughts or unhelpful thoughts that spontaneously come to mind that are normally provoked by exaggerated thought patterns, including absolutist thoughts like “all-or-nothing thinking”. They can also form from rules or statements about how you believe the world should work or how you and others should behave and often contain words like “must” or “should.”
Other types of these thoughts are assumptions or statements about what you believe will happen in a situation. Some examples of these thoughts could be: “I must be perfect in everything I do at work” or “If I give my everything at work then others should do the same”.
And finally, core beliefs about yourself, others, the world, or the future that are maintained through information that supports the belief while ignoring information that contradicts it. For instance, “I’m not smart enough, I’m sure that I will make errors in this particular project for my company.” when there is clear evidence that you performed very well in past projects.
How to become aware of your thoughts and how it can change the way you feel could be one of the best techniques to prevent and manage work-related stress. Some of the clues that can help us are:
- Try to have helpful thoughts that lead you to good feelings and emotions and can help you feel less stressed or try to reformulate unhelpful thoughts that can cause negative feelings and emotions.
- Avoid falling into catastrophic thinking patterns, believing that something horrible has happened when in reality the situation is not so terrible.
- Be realistic, since unrealistic thoughts can make you believe that one thing you may think is true is not.
- Practice self-reflection and introspection
- Seek feedback and perspective from others on your thought processes
StressOut Project, will develop tools and a training program that will help companies and individuals deal with irrational thoughts, among other techniques and, therefore, help them to prevent and manage work-related stress and burnout.