The Powerful On The Spot ABC Coping Strategy
Every day there will be events that happen that test our resilience capacity. You get stuck in traffic, wake up late and have to rush the school or whatever else life throws at you. How you react is crucial to building up your resilience.
Cognitive restructuring (or changing the way we think during a stressful event) is the best method for managing stress at work, according to a "meta-study" published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology.
In this observation of studies, which focuses on techniques used to manage stress, cognitive restructuring was compared against other common "stress interventions" like deep breathing and relaxation.
The cognitive restructuring came out to be the best intervention of the lot. The findings suggested that "Cognitive restructuring promotes the development of proactive responses to stress." Put another way, it helps prevent stress.
Founded by Doctor Albert Ellis and Aaron Beck, was this mindset reframing technique that gets people to dispute their negative self-talk and therefore use it to control their thinking during a stressful event.
What their research found is that most people the severity of a stressful event. Ellis liked to call this phenomenon: "stinking thinking." This way of thinking results in a common response like:
"I've got the worst job in the world."
"I'll never get all this work done on time."
"Why does this always happen to me."
"I'm a complete failure."
This negative thought process often clouds people's mindsets and leads to irrational and often completely false outcomes.
When we engage in this way of thinking, we are the ones who suffer. In essence, we become our own worst enemy for our often false recognition of the situation that's causing us to feel stressed. Ellis and Beck came up with a way to change our overly negative thinking that's as easy to remember as ABC or, in this case, A+B=C.
In this equation, the A stands for the Activating event (it's the source of stress). The B stands for your Beliefs (it's what you THINK or believe about the stress). The C stands for the Consequence or the result of A+B. (It's how you feel inside due to the stress plus your thoughts about it.)
Most people think that A = C, something happens to them like getting a flat type on the way to work and instantly the exaggerated negative thoughts make things a lot more stressful than they need to be. "This would only happen to me. Why does this always happen to me!"
Ellis suggests that if you notice that you are finding yourself adopting a negative thought process, you can challenge that that by infusing B (your belief system) and disputing that with another more objective, rational thought – "Ok, I've got a flat tyre, but this happens to millions of people every day, I'll phone work, explain what happened and wait for the AA to arrive to change it."
As a result, every time you challenge your belief system and use the ABC model technique, you will get better at it and build a little resilience. In time things that used to bother you don't bother you anymore