Our reaction to stressful events such as divorce can become so habitual that they occur without our awareness. We become so accustomed to reacting to stress in a certain way that it is second nature to us.
We aren't aware that we are reacting in a way that is harmful to us until we are plagued with physical or emotional problems that we can no longer ignore.
The way we react to stress depends on the way we think about a stressful event when it happens. Have you ever known anyone who seems to sail straight through the problems in their lives? There are people in the world who can deal smoothly with issues that might cripple others emotionally. I'm sure you've met such people and have even been envious of their ability to "take it on the chin."
The one thing that enables these people to deal so well with a stressful event is the way they think about the event or issue. They aren't in the habit of jumping to the worst conclusion. They are not habitual, negative thinkers who are prisoners of their own "I can't handle this" attitude.
It wasn't until I went through my divorce that I became aware of just how much damage being addicted to negative thinking can do. I literally became physically and emotionally exhausted from worry — exhaustion that occurred because I had no idea how to be mindful of what I was thinking and how my negative thinking was affecting me physically and emotionally.
Most people use the term "mindfulness" to express the need to stay tuned into what is going on in your life. I use the term to express the importance of staying tuned to what is going on in your head. Be mindful of those thoughts rattling around in your brain because it is those thoughts that will determine how well you navigate stressful events and issues as they come up.
You've heard the expression, "pain is inevitable, suffering is not." You may wonder, "if I'm in pain, then how do I stop the suffering I'm experiencing"?
You stop the suffering by...
- Living one day at a time.
- Paying attention to the way you are thinking about your situation.
- Replacing negative thoughts with positive thoughts.
- Becoming "the little engine that could."
Get through today. Don't expend energy on tomorrow. Use the energy you have to be mindful of your thought processes and attentive to living today and squeezing all the joy out of it that you can.
If you find your mind wondering to self-defeating thoughts of not being able to tackle whatever is causing you stress, replace those thoughts with positive, self-affirming thoughts. Old habits die-hard but, with effort, you will find that you can replace the habit of negative thinking with the habit of positive thinking.
Someone who exercises their ability to think positively anticipates happiness, joy, good health and a successful outcome to every situation they are in. You can become that "someone."
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