Relabeling – A positive coping skill
From Kicking Your Stress Habits
By Donald A. Tubesing, PhD, MDiv.
You wake up. You’re in a good mood for a Monday. You get ready for work and head out the door. Three hours later, your head is on your desk and you want to go back to bed. What went wrong? You may not realize you assigned an event a good or bad value until you find yourself stressed and wondering that very question. What did go wrong? Thinking back, you see that you started feeling stressed when a friend you work with walked by without saying hello. After that, you started feeling gloomy.
So, you’re feeling threatened because you fear that you’ve lost the respect of a friend. In this situation, you can try relabeling—looking at an event from another, more positive point of view. Rather than instantly jump to the conclusion she was ignoring you, think about other reasons she may not have noticed you. Maybe she was on the phone, or had a headache. When you’ve calmed down, you can asked her about it. Most likely, there was no actual threat, and relabeling can help you calm down enough to see that.
Relabeling is not always right. While you can relabel some situations, don’t relabel getting mugged as meeting someone new. When you identify a threat, you will know it; use the adrenaline boost from the stress to get out of the situation, or fix it.