The ABCs of Stress

 

amanda-muhammad-meditation-stress
 
Amanda Muhammad, MA, DMCT is a Mindfulness Based Stress Management Consultant in Dallas, TX. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Business Psychology, holds a Masters in Organizational Leadership, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Management and Leadership.
 
After several years of experience in corporate America and education, she found love in teaching others and helping them maximize their potential. Amanda now spends her days teaching accessible ways to take a preventative approach to stress management.
 

 
Have you ever been stuck in traffic and while you’re sitting comfortably listening to your podcast, another person is blaring on their horn, and a third driver sits in a pool of anxiety because they’re going to be late? How is it that we can take the same exact situation and react in such different ways?
 
We have a tendency to think it’s the adverse event that causes us to react sub-optimally, however, today I’d like to introduce an alternative reason we respond differently – our perspective.  
 
As a Stress Management Consultant, something I often have my clients do is look at their stressors and take an inventory of how many of their common stressors are internal vs. external.
 
What they will typically find is that the majority of their stressors are actually outside of their control. Ironically, those stressors tend to be the things in our lives that are controlling us. 
 
Psychologist Albert Ellis came up with a model for stress called the ABC’s. He says that each adversity we face has three components: the “A” or Activating event, the “B” or your belief about the event”, and “C” which is the consequence that results. The model looks like a math equation, “A+B=C”. What we discover is that the “A” tends to be uncontrollable, so if we want to change the “C” we have to examine the “B”.
 
Take the following example:
 
Your friend turns you down for dinner (A). 
Now, you believe no one likes you (B). 
As a result you feel sad, rejected, and alone (C ). 
 
We have a tendency to unrealistically distort our experiences which can lead us down a rabbit hole of negative emotions like in that example. If we want to change our emotions, we have to change our beliefs. To change our beliefs, we must examine them.
 
When you find yourself in a pickle like this, I want to challenge you to practice shifting your perspective by asking yourself questions like – Why do I think no one likes me? Does one person turning me down actually mean that no one likes me? Does this one event mean that no one will ever like me? Does everyone have to like me? 
 
When we challenge our thoughts and beliefs about ourselves, our situations, and others, we open the door to new perspectives and greater resiliency.
 
 
Check out this video I made about the ABC’s and how you can actively use this tool anytime! 
 
 
Create a great day, 
 
Amanda
 

 
 
 
 
 

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