In the know: Reduce stress with a positive mindset

Stressed Out Nurses Weekly, April 13, 2009

In order to take care of patients, nurses need to make time to take care of themselves. It's crucial that nurses face up to the reality that spending work life caring for others is a heavy burden, and that they must take some time to recharge.

One way to reduce your stress is to change the way you look at things. Here are some negative forms of thinking and alternative to surpass them:

  • Extreme thinking: Sometimes we see things with no middle ground or no gray. It's all black and white, all or nothing, good or bad. Change extreme thinking into reality thinking by looking for the gray between the black and white.
  • Overgeneralizing/blowing things out of proportion: Everything is a crisis. "No one here knows what he or she is doing." "I never get a good assignment." Instead of thinking in this mindset, remember that what is happening now is only what is happening now. Nothing lasts forever. Look for times when good things happen to you.
  • Mind reading/fortune-telling: You predict the future in a negative way: "This is going to be another rotten day." Stop mind reading and start asking for clarification and details. Check out the facts. What does the policy say? What does the procedure mandate?
  • Jumping to conclusions without enough evidence: "They don't know what it is like to work on the floor. This is just one more thing they brought up to make our days difficult." Gather your data before making any conclusions. We all know we need to make a comprehensive patient assessment before a diagnosis can be made. Use the same principles when coming to a conclusion about a situation that has caused you discomfort.
  • Personalizing: Jumping to a conclusion that something is directly connected to you: "Everyone knows I've been off work because I can't cope." Come to grips with the reality that the world doesn't revolve around you. Often, other people are so concerned about themselves that they don't even think about how their actions might affect you.

Source: Stressed Out About Difficult Patients, HCPro, Inc. 2007. Be sure to pick up your copy today!

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