The Perception Of Stress

The Perception Of Stress

The Perception Of Stress

Have you ever wondered why two different people react completely differently to the same stressful situation? 

When confronted with the same situation, why do some people get angry, others get frightened, and others not upset at all?

The way you cognitively appraise a situation and how you perceive the event is important in determining your behaviour. Perception is the sensory experience of our world. How you see things and how you  interpret meaning from the event,  is formed in part by past experiences, internal resilience and your internal sense of control. 

When you think an event will have a negative impact, you are more at risk of responding in a stressed way to the event. 

Using a therapy such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help you assess your thinking, assess your beliefs and support you in evaluating the situation in a more realistic way. It gives you a way to watch for your filters, assess your thinking patterns and acknowledging the challenges when they exist. 

Ultimately, you can change the way you practice thinking. Many of us, unconsciously entertain multiple unhelpful thinking styles and many of us are completely oblivious to it. 

Common unhelpful thinking errors are:

  • Black and white thinking, when you think in extremes, success versus failure, right versus wrong and fail to recognise that there are multiple grey areas in-between. 
  • Another example is ‘should’ and ‘must’ statements. When you use these words, it makes situations feel rigid, as if you have no choice in your decision-making.
  • Catastrophising is another common thinking error, when you immediately jump to worst case scenario, like as if you can predict the future. 

Challenging this kind of thinking is a great way to bring a sense of moderation to your thoughts and therefore behaviours. How you think about a situation can change the way you respond to it.

Read more here.


If you think you have an issue with unhelpful thinking and need more support, consider seeing a psychologist or alternatively you can do a CBT course online with “This way UP” an initiative from University of NSW.