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Chapter Summary

“The way you see the problem is the problem.” That is, problems are not what happens to you, but rather what you tell yourself about what happens to you. Your perceptions and expectations in great part determine whether you will experience stress and to what degree. To reduce your stress level, you can alter your perspective by practicing the art of reframing, which involves using various strategies for shifting your point of view. Oftentimes a helpful shift involves giving up being right. Being able to step into the shoes of the other person, to really understand his or her perspective, helps you work toward win/win solutions. Stress is also caused by conscious and unconscious irrational beliefs, which often lead to catastrophizing about situations. Learn to refute irrational beliefs by first identifying them, then challenging them, and finally substituting more rational alternatives. Remember, the map is not the territory. Your perceptions are not reality, only your subjective interpretations of reality. Adopting an optimistic map will be most useful for mastering stress and achieving your life goals. Practicing optimism is more about challenging negative beliefs or expectations than mindlessly repeating positive statements. Learn to dispute negativity.


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