Image of the cyclic relationship between thoughts, feelings and behaviours...

My Experience Attending a Health & Wellness Workshop

Better Coping Skills: Balanced Thinking Workshop

The Better Coping Skills online series is available to students who want to develop strategies they can use in everyday life to engage in more balanced thinking and deal with negative emotions. It was designed by Health & Wellness counsellors at the University of Toronto with you in mind. It is a first step to better coping skills, and should be used to complement other supportive resources such as your family, friends and community.

It’s that time of the year when I have begun overthinking every decision I make out of worry that something will go wrong. As an anxious person in general, I was so glad I attended this workshop since I had the opportunity to understand how our thoughts affect our feelings and actions.

We did an exercise involving our thoughts, feelings and behaviours. We were asked how we would categorize events in our day-to-day lives and what our reactions would be to those things. One such instance was a loud noise in the middle of the night.

Most people said that an event like that would make them think someone has broken into their home, or their pet knocked something. The feelings that I and many other participants felt were fear, shock, astonishment, horror, etc. As a behavioral response, some people said they would double-lock their doors, etc. as a safety precaution.

After reading our responses, the workshop coordinator suggested that we interpret ambiguous situations according to previous experiences and beliefs, and these interpretations result in different thoughts, feelings and behaviours. There's always a missing element to an event that can completely change our perspective. What if it was just your roommate entering late at night?

Image of the cyclic relationship between Thoughts, Feelings and Behaviours.

I noticed how the smallest missing piece can cause a huge shift in my thinking! The moment this was discussed in the workshop, something in my brain clicked, and it made sense that the feelings of fear or anxiety stem from situations where I tend to overthink the possibilities without focusing on the facts.

I tried to apply it to a situation that I was facing trouble with that day. I had a lab that evening on a topic I wasn't confident about. I kept thinking I wouldn't perform well in the lab, and maybe I wouldn't receive a good grade as a result — before it even happened!

The missing piece of information from reality was that the topic was just introduced that very morning in a lecture, and just like me, every other student in the course wasn't too familiar with it either. The TA (Teaching Assistant) ended up letting us know that we would be graded on effort and not our knowledge, since it was a very new topic for us.

Without all the facts, I made assumptions about how I would perform. But, once I considered the facts, my thinking and my feelings about the situation changed for the better. That's how a little shift in perspective can help us think in a balanced manner.

During the workshop, we were also advised on how writing down our thoughts on paper can help us assess the 'what', 'why' and 'how' of our thoughts. I have been journaling here and there but haven't been so consistent with it, but I do know that on the days when I write down my thoughts, it is easier to dissect the situation and be more aware of my recurring negative thoughts.

Overall, the experience was extremely beneficial in learning new ways to tackle my range of thoughts and resulting behavioural patterns, and I would highly recommend attending at least one session to learn more about yourself.

The following four areas of intervention will be tackled in these workshops:

  • Balanced Thinking
  • Behavior Change
  • Emotion Regulation
  • Balanced Living

To learn more about how you can apply these interventions to your personal life, register for a H&W workshop today!

– Piya

0 comments on “My Experience Attending a Health & Wellness Workshop

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *