We experience stress when pressure exceeds our ability to cope. This is a really interesting article from the BPS on “stress mindset”. People with a “positive” stress mindset – you believe stressful challenges can lead to positive outcomes, such as learning and achievement – are more likely to come up with coping strategies than those with a “negative” stress mindset who see stress as unpleasant and debilitating. (NB these findings refer to one-off events rather than long term continuous stress).
It seems that we can turn around a negative mindset to a positive mindset. One suggestion that I definitely won’t be following is to watch a horror movie before taking on a stressful challenge!
However, here are some Dos and Don’ts from the article that can help develop a positive stress mindset:
- Remind yourself of your strengths and previous success
- Ask your partner to send you a supportive text (but not one with advice)
- Visualise your partner
- Use self-defeating humour or self-discounting statements
- Think about the negative consequences of failure
More tips in How to Get On with Anyone, Chapter 16 “Enhancing your Self-Confidence”.