Manage the negative to reduce stress

Manage the negative to reduce stress

Have you ever heard that phrase “Just one more thing…” in Columbo? What made Columbo interesting was that the crime worked in reverse, starting with a murder. Then it became all about how Columbo was going to find the murderer using endless questioning. As the suspect becomes increasing stressed and their stress levels rise, they make mistakes. What Columbo was doing (perhaps without realising – or not!) was creating a negative trigger in NLP called an anchor where the suspect reacts to “…just one more thing”.

Negative anchors

A negative anchor can be something that we see, hear, feel or think that invokes or provokes a (negative) reaction from us. We may have this happen day to day at home or at work. At home it might be triggers such as the sight of an untidy room, overflowing laundry basket, unemptied dishwasher… the list goes on – how do you react to them? Not easy as families have all been in a space together for longer than usual with the pressure of home schooling thrown into the mix.

Just think of the negative anchors happening around you and the angst they can cause in relationships. At work it might be a certain phrase a colleague uses or a mannerism (they are amplified through video conferencing) or a way you are perceiving they might be looking at you.

Negative anchors do not help us be resourceful nor are they a positive use of our time and energy. It’s in our interest for our health and wellbeing to be in a more controlled state to produce a positive or proactive response (saving our stress levels and relationships).

Reduce stress

We have choice in how we either act or react to a situation, in this case a negative anchor. An reaction is hard to control, it takes up our energy, time and can lead to increased stress. We generally do not feel good about ourselves or the outcome (just think about driving). An action is on our terms. We pause, and think about how we are going to respond – this in itself will generally bring a more positive outcome in terms of our stress levels.

Let’s go further, think about that overflowing laundry basket for example, bring the picture to your mind, notice how you are feeling. Take that picture, shrink it down to the size of a dot and throw it off the screen into space. Now, go and find the laundry basket or think about it – how do you feel when you see it?

Let me know how you get on?

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