To get rid of stress, watch what you say

Stress management uses a group of mental and physical techniques that allow us to process potentially harmful stimuli in a healthy way. I appreciate coping with stress in all areas of my life because it frees me from professional and personal performance.

One of the stress management tools I use regularly is reworking. In principle, framing is the exchange of a negative thought for a positive thought.

In many cases, negative thoughts come to mind when people’s performance does not meet their own expectations. In their disappointment, they turn against each other with negative talk about themselves.

Negative self-talk consists of phrases like “How could I do that?” or “What’s wrong with me?” They would never say something like that to another person in the same situation. Such internal criticism can be devastating to self-confidence, creating a toxic environment where one mistake grows into anxiety or depression.

The first step in framing is to recognize a negative thought, to notice what you are saying. This recognition allows one to isolate and identify a negative thought as a kind of “intruder” and deal with it accordingly.

The goal is to turn negativity into a positive thought. So instead of thinking, “How could I do that?” and by immersing oneself in the related self-analysis, a healthy reworking could be “Let’s move on.”

Although subtle, reformulating a negative thought into something more motivating or inspiring can dramatically change the way a person experiences the world and the way the world experiences it. The self-analysis that follows “Let’s move on” is constructive and forward-looking.

This is a completely different way of thinking that supports growth, improvement and success.

I like to use reframing techniques when exercising on the floor. Self-analysis seems to be more natural for me when I’m lying down, and I use my time to make a few moves on the floor. This week’s workout happens to be one of those moves.

Single Leg Hip Raise helps strengthen the gluteal group as well as the lower back and hamstrings.

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1. Lie face up on an exercise mat with your legs outstretched and your hands resting on your hips.

2. Bring the right leg to the hips by bending the knee. The sole of your right foot should be flat on the floor.

3. Push your palms on the floor to achieve balance.

4. Lift your hips off the floor by squeezing your right foot. Let your left foot stay straight as it rises from the floor with your hips.

5. When you reach full extension, slowly lower your hips back down without allowing your left foot to touch the floor.

6. Continue repeating this hip stroke on one leg until you have performed two sets of 12 reps.

Framing while performing floor exercises can also be helpful for those who experience negative self-talk about their condition or health. The combination of mental exercise with physical movement allows you to think positive thoughts while taking steps to achieve a health goal. It is mutually beneficial!

Matt Parrott, director of business development and population health solutions for Quest Diagnostics, started this section 20 years ago in Little Rock. He has a doctorate in education (sports studies), a master’s degree in kinesiology and is certified by the American College of Sports Medicine.

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