Look for the positive intention behind every action
When you get stressed, what do you think brings it on? Emotions such as anger, frustration and disappointment may all be contributing factors.
Living with psoriasis involves dealing with the way people react to your condition, whether it is a lingering glance or outward staring. Every time this happens, we interpret the reaction and intentions of that person. Do you believe someone is singling you out? Do you consider that they might be looking at your outfit? Do your circumstances affect how you read the situation?
That’s why it is important to recognise the active role you have in interpreting people’s actions, particularly when it comes to psoriasis. If you sometimes struggle with feelings of rejection and self-consciousness, this exercise may be helpful for you. The idea is to look for positive intentions, and recognize that people often do not intend to be hurtful.
Exercise – Deal with negative emotions by seeing them in a wider context
- Think about something someone has done or said that provoked a negative reaction. It could be a tactless remark or a conflict at work, for example.
- Put yourself in that person’s place and consider what could have motivated them. What did they hope to achieve, and why?
- Now, experiment by trying to see their actions in a different light: try to assume their intentions were positive, even if you are convinced they were not.
- Re-consider your original judgment. Were there ways that you might have been interpreting their actions? Should you give this person an opportunity to explain their intentions?
- Try to repeat this exercise a few times, possibly regularly, to help keep situations in perspective.
- Remind yourself that not all people are good at controlling their facial reactions, and we are not always good at interpreting them. Was that a face of disgust or of confusion? It is not always clear.
- Try to give people the benefit of the doubt. Assume the best of them so that you can get back to… you!
Integrating the exercise
Remember – this exercise can help to reduce the anger and frustration that you may feel when you deal with the reactions of other people. Use this exercise when someone’s actions have triggered an emotional response from you. Consciously changing how you interpret the actions of others by focusing on the possible positive intentions can actually help to cope with those actions. This can help reduce your stress and make you feel better about yourself.
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