It should come as no surprise to anyone that stress has strong negative correlations with our health. And while stress is in the same ‘don’t-do’ bracket as an indulgent midnight snack or spending our lives on the couch, trying to actively combat every high-pressure moment that pops up and turn it into a positive takeaway can be hard, and, quite frankly, unrealistic.
According to psychotherapist Jennice Vilhauer though, changing your thought patterns can be as simple as transferring your attention from one thing to another.
“Learning how to shift your attention to something that makes you feel better is one of the most powerful tools there is for improving emotional wellbeing.”
Jennice, who is the author of Think Forward to Thrive, argues that by playing a negative moment on repeat in your head, you are, in fact, giving that moment more power than it deserves. Therefore, by replacing that negative thought with a fond memory or something you’re excited about, you’re able to improve your emotional health by essentially stopping the thought in its tracks.
“Most people who ruminate on a negative past are simply unaware that they are doing it or that there is any choice in the matter… Learning how to become aware of what you are paying attention to, and more important, how to shift your attention to something that makes you feel better, is one of the most powerful tools there is for improving emotional wellbeing.”
So, next time you find yourself musing on less than desirable moments: stop, breathe and think about something you actually want to be thinking about. And, if it were up to us, dreaming of an office puppy, baking a cake or curating our Netflix ‘must watch’ list would be a way better use of time.