+852 2575 7707 drmelanie@mindmatters.hk

 
Answer: Interpretation

Really, the ‘stressful’ situation, interaction or occurrence does not come with evaluation or judgment written on it; we supply that.

How we view or evaluate a circumstance triggers a cascade of mental, emotional and physiological responses that influence how we react on multiple levels in the short and medium term.

When we take our rapid interpretations as truth in the universe, we forfeit choices in how we could react if we didn’t respond so quickly. It would be helpful to consider our initial thoughts and feeling responses as a ‘speed bump’, reminding us to slow down and reconsider how else we could react. This does take practice, but is so worth the effort.

We are more likely to accept ‘positive’ stress when it is associated with an outcome we value, such as landing a new job, studying for a difficult exam, planning a wedding, having a baby,  or relocating out of choice. Such stress is more likely to be viewed as normal and managed flexibly.

Conversely, we tend to evaluate undesirable outcomes, such as an unexpected job loss, illness, infidelity or divorce as highly undesirable ‘negative’ stress. In such circumstances if we focus only on the fearful, painful or depressing aspects of the situation, our negative beliefs are compounded.

Such types of interpretations leading to emotional stress lasting weeks or more can weaken the immune system, increase blood pressure, generate anxiety, depression and contribute to heart problems. Attributing such undesirable situations or outcomes to deficiencies in ourselves that are relatively fixed will intensify our negative beliefs and sense of powerlessness. It becomes a vicious cycle.

Many situations are indeed difficult and call for thoughtful consideration, emotional balance and creative responses. Accepting our knee-jerk interpretations can severely hamper such adaptive responses.

If you are having difficulty managing trying situations, do consider contacting me on (852) 2575 7707 or via this link.