In my last article I discussed how the real cause of all stress, is how people interpret events and situations that take place in their  lives, particularly in their advising jobs. The culprit is our self talk, which always determines whether or not the situation will cause us stress. To review, using as an example the market volatility events of the past month, it goes like this:

• (A) A Potentially Stress Producing Activating Event Takes Place on the Job (e.g., unpredictable market volatility as a result of major declines in the energy sectors)

• (B) Your Beliefs and Self-Talk About That Event Occur Immediately (You might say to yourself, “Several of my clients panic when the market drops precipitously and they will be calling me asking why I didn’t see this coming.”

• (C) The Consequent Emotions and Behaviors Occur (You might feel all of the symptoms of anticipatory stress, frustration and even anger, waiting for calls from difficult clients)

Events are neutral. Stress and anxiety are the result of unchecked, negative self-talk patterns that you consistently use following these events. The good news is that you can learn to control your self-talk. Once you recognize that you are engaging such thinking patterns, you can modify them, thus dramatically reducing the stress.

Four Common Negative Self-Talk Patterns
Here are four of the most common negative, self-defeating self-talk patterns that people unconsciously and automatically use on a regular basis. (In my next article, I will include another four)

• All or Nothing (“If any strategy I give to any of my clients fails, then I’m a failure.”)

• Magnification (“It would be really awful to have a client lose faith in me.”)

• Mind Reading (“I can tell that my managing director is disappointed in me.”)

• Catastrophizing or Fortune Telling (“What if I can’t build my book of business because potential clients have lost faith in the market and in advisors during these turbulent times?”)