Health and Wellness

How to quash those negative thoughts about Monday mornings

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Has the thought of heading out to work on a Monday ever put a dampener on your Sunday evening? If that's the case, you're certainly not alone.

Several surveys over the years have shown that many people around the globe worry about going back to work after the weekend break.

In 2018, a LinkedIn survey revealed that 80% of professionals in the U.S. experienced the "Sunday Scaries" — with over a third of participants admitting they agonize about this weekly. A global poll by Monster in 2015 meantime, revealed that 42% of EU respondents who deal with the Sunday night blues, will typically have a "really bad" case of them.

So how do you go about clamping down on these negative thoughts? With a simple mental exercise, according to author, anxiety coach and hypnotherapist, Chloe Brotheridge.

Describing that shift in mood and focus on a Sunday afternoon as a case of the "Smondays," Brotheridge sees this as the "perfect example" of how individuals generate feelings of anxiety, by just imagining the future going badly.

"We do this in all sorts of ways. I found myself having imaginary conversations with people, arguments about possible conversations that I could maybe have in the future, and imagining people shouting at me — but it would never happen, and yet my mind was going to this worst-case scenario, of those 'what ifs?'," said Brotheridge to attendees at Women's Health Live festival in London last week.

Having overcome her own anxiety, Brotheridge has gone onto write two books on well-being, release a podcast, and offer sessions to those looking to tackle their anxiety and low self-confidence levels.

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According to Brotheridge, what a lot of athletes consider when they're worried about an upcoming sporting event, is to imagine what could go right — rather than focus on the negatives.

"Almost like playing a movie in their mind of the event, and they imagine feeling strong, feeling confident (and) feeling calm."

"If we all did this — instead of imagining what could go wrong — we'd feel a lot more relaxed going into Monday morning, or going into that presentation that we have to get to."

By using this exercise of playing a movie in your mind, Brotheridge says it's important to picture how you would like that upcoming event, or day, to unfold.

"What would you like to think? How would you like to feel in your body? How would you like to be speaking?" she explained.

"And if we can get into the habit of doing this and imagining what could go right, we'd feel so much calmer and more confident, going into those situations."

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By choosing to focus on the positives and committing to this affirmative thinking on a frequent basis, this can help retrain the brain. As Brotheridge explains in her book "The Anxiety Solution," when you repeat positive affirmations — whether that's saying it out loud or writing it down — it "starts to become a mental habit to think those positive thoughts."

If your concerns impact your ability to switch off and sleep, Brotheridge suggests finding something calming to distract you, that doesn't involve technology, for a brief time until you feel tired — whether that's writing all of your concerns down onto paper, or reading some fiction.

"Remind yourself that, no matter what Monday brings, you'll handle it," Brotheridge writes.

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