Work-related stress is reaching epidemic rates. So many of us have pressure-cooker careers and extremely stressful jobs. Too often, we are filled with negative thoughts about our work. These kinds of thoughts can take a toll on our ability to concentrate and perform.
When negative thoughts begin to percolate and wreak havoc with our emotions, it’s time to separate from them. The Says Who? method is a straightforward, powerful way of questioning and challenging those thoughts that stops them right in their tracks. And by facing a negative thought with a question, we find out if it’s true — or if we can just let it go. This is an approach anyone can use to overcome negative thoughts in any realm, including work.
Here’s how to get rid of those negative thoughts about your job in four simple steps:
1. Acknowledge the stress
Recognize its existence, even if it’s upsetting. Don’t deny it or try to push it away. Admit you’re feeling stress about your job, and accept that you’re having those negative thoughts. Doing so allows you to focus on what is happening in the “now,” which is actual and real, instead of focusing on the emotions surrounding the thoughts.
2. Shift into observer mode
Shift gears out of reactive mode into observer mode. In reactive mode, you have no distance from your own negative thoughts. But in observer mode, you turn into a witness that is separated and independent from them. Then you’re in a position to ask yourself questions to help get calm and grounded.
3. Ask that negative thought, “Says Who?”
You are demanding that thought reveal who is responsible for it. In other words, how did it get in your mind? Once you find out, you can decide what to do about it. Is it your original thought, or was it someone else’s that you took as your own? You may even discover it is an old thought that has become part of your core beliefs, and now it’s time to challenge it and let it go.
Say you’re always thinking, “I’m terrible at my job.” Asking, “Says Who?” really means: “Why am I saying that I’m terrible at this job?” Then go one step further. Ask yourself, “Is it me? If so, why would I think a thought that makes me feel bad about myself?”
4. Now you’re ready to continue the questioning process
The next questions after “Says Who?” further challenge those negative thoughts. Asking, “Have I heard someone say this thought before?” helps you find out if the negative thought is your opinion, or someone else’s. Asking, “Do I like this thought?” gives you license to consider whether it’s a thought worth keeping. And questions such as “Does this thought work for me?” can help you transform that negative thought into something positive and life-affirming. That’s the kind of thought that will help you get your work done, or venture forth to find a job better suited to you, and better for your well-being.
The Says Who? Method is a powerful tool for stopping the stressful, negative thoughts we can have about the workplace. That’s because we tend to judge ourselves about our performance. This method stops that anxious “self-doubt on repeat” in its tracks, so you can stop judging yourself so harshly – and get to work. You can become more effective, successful, and productive. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, it helps you feel empowered — to do and be your best.
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