Recognise your positive qualities


Focus on the positive

One of the symptoms of stress is that you forget to focus on positive qualities and skills – instead you get caught up in negative thoughts and emotions. You are particularly likely to do this when you feel overwhelmed or under pressure because that is when it is easiest to lost a sense of perspective.

A simple way to regain your control is mentally to step back from your environment and take a look at yourself to establish whether or not you have things in balance. Run over the events of the last week.    Think about the tasks that you completed and identify the skills you used. You may take these for granted but, remember, not everyone can do the same things as you.

Take a piece of paper and list the skills that you have used in the last week. Your skills are activities that you do well or have a flair for, perhaps cooking, typing or chairing meetings. Think of the times when you have been praised or rewarded by others, it will help you to recognise your achievements.

On a second sheet of paper, list your positive qualities, the things that are special about you. You could perhaps include your friendly personality, or your ability to be positive in difficult circumstances.

Skills used during week
1. Computer skills – taught Fred how to use new software.
2. Patience – looked after neighbour’s baby on Saturday
3. Diplomacy – broke up argument between J and K.
4. Organisation – arranged surprise birthday party for Bill.
5. Head for figures – sorted out Angie’s financial problems.
Positive qualities
1. Affectionate
2. Witty (make others laugh)
3. Good with children
4. Friendly to strangers
5. Decisive

Once you have completed your lists stick them somewhere visible where you can read them and add to them regularly. Recognising your positive qualities is an effect way to reduce the stress of negative thinking. It also puts you in touch with all the useful resources that you have for dealing with awkward or difficult situations when you are under pressure.

Build your confidence

Confidence is all about knowing your capabilities. So it is important to build a positive memory bank of all the times that you have performed well.

To build up your positive memory bank, you will need some quiet time. Relax in a favourite chair and mentally wander back through time, rather like going back through a calendar. As you do so, allow all your good performances to pop into your mind such as when people congratulated you, when you had a good work appraisal, or how proud you felt when your children graduated from college. First, spent the time just enjoying the memories, then write them down. Read your list regularly to boost your confidence.

A few last words on boosting confidence: try not to put yourself down. Everyone has successes in their life and now is the time to get better at recognising yours.

Adopt stress-free self-talk

We have already discussed the fact that the only person who creates negative stress is you. Most of us do this without thinking – we constantly berate ourselves with negative talk and make negative comments to ourselves such as, ‘I’ll never get this finished in time’.

The danger of negative self-talk is that it can end up believing the worst has happened or is about to happen. Mentally, you begin to rehearse failing and eventually that is what you do. Whenever you catch yourself doing this, try to reverse the process as successful, stress-free people do.

To feel good about yourself, to be successful and resilient to stress, start to send yourself positive messages. Tell yourself, ‘I look good and feel great’ or ‘I will get this done’.

Next, we’ll discuss how to go about changing your thoughts.

Change your thoughts >>

Text Copyright © Alix Needham
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