I have an issue, that I think many people experience – however I find it really,really difficult to control.
I dwell alot. I stress myself and torment myself when something goes wrong let’s say in work – a blunder/mistake – I can’t shrug it off. The guilt, embarrassment, judgment from peers/ managers latches onto me and I can’t brush it off.My head goes into overdrive – you’re so stupid / you don’t deserve this job / what is my manager thinking of me?!
I learn from my mistake however I spend so much of my time worrying. It is like a domino effect – it will affect the rest of my day.
I try to unload my feelings then onto a colleague or someone I can trust – but I then feel the guilt of showing weakness when I should have shrugged it off and moved on. I am an adult – what is wrong with me?!
My fella has to deal with this when I get home, poor man!
Hope you can give me some advice on my habit. It is a wild animal, which I have no self control on. Any help would be great.
Why do we all dwell on things so much? Some people are more prone to dwell than others and will depend on whether their personality can manage the type of incident, mistake or negative event that has happened. People may dwell on things more if the event occurred in a space where they already feel a little insecure or not quite confident, which may be a reason for your feeling this way at work in particular.
You are having negative thoughts because you feel like you are being judged by others. These negative thoughts are depriving you of the opportunity to take positive action or find a constructive solution to redress your error. This then leads to low self-esteem and waning confidence and subsequently pressure and anxiety manifest themselves into stress.
You are going to be stuck in this vicious circle unless you allow positive thinking to crush your negative thoughts. I know firsthand how difficult it can be to allow this to happen, but trust me that it can be done. Believe it or not, the majority of the time the only person judging you is you, yourself.
I totally agree with your statement in the start of your letter, that you are not the only one who has the tendency to worry unnecessarily. However, it’s very helpful that you know that you have a tendency to fall into this mental state and that you now want to take positive action to take control of it. That first step is not to be underestimated – well done!
Next time you feel that you are going to start to worry, start by reminding yourself the following:
- To breathe! Close your eyes for a second, and just concentrate on your breathing. Nothing else. Count your breaths in and out in your head: start with three seconds in and three seconds out, then four seconds in and four seconds out and so on until your breaths are so deep that you have to concentrate on that and nothing else. It’s best to both inhale and exhale through your nose…this may make you sound like a dragon so maybe run to the loos or a quiet corner to do it.
- That you care about your mistake more than anyone else.
- That this negative feeling will go away. When in the depths of mental despair, it can be easy to think that the feeling will never leave you. But it always does. So tell yourself you won’t feel this way forever. Think about it like splitting yourself in two: there’s version no.1 who gets caught up in this panic and lingering feeling of dismay, and there’s version no.2 who’s going to tell version no.1 that she doesn’t need to feel this way and remind her of the reality that nobody cares about the problem/error more than she does. Sometimes version no.1 will shout a little bit louder and that’s OK, but don’t let version no.2 go, you’ll need her when it happens next time.
- Write down the tasks you have done well or the reasons you are good at your job. You need to write down five reasons – no cheating or skipping any…five whole reasons! If you can’t think of any, dig a little deeper. You must be strict with yourself on this one, because by the time you’ve dug deep and reached your five reasons, you’ll realise that your sporadic errors really are insignificant compared to all of the things you’re great at.
- If your negative feeling just will not leave you, write it down. It doesn’t need to be coherent or grammatically correct. It doesn’t even need to make sense. Just put your pen on a piece of paper and write down whatever it is that’s in your head that’s bringing you down. Believe me, it’s like opening a valve as the thoughts pour onto the page and out of your head. Melanie has a special notebook for such an occasion that she can write down all of her stresses and negative thoughts in, then she slams the book closed and shoves it in a dark drawer until she needs it again. It can be a massive relief.
Furthermore, if you feel that these feelings are becoming more and mroe frequent or that they are beginning to dominate your life in any way, I strongly advise you telling your GP and take along your written thoughts. There is absolutely no shame in it – we Brits are so scared of admitting that we seek medical help for mental health, but other countries are far more progressive about these matters and I hope our attitudes will soon follow suit. The doctor will be able to advise a variety of different methods of improving your mental health for you to choose which will best suit you.
I really hope this this helps and please do get back in touch if you want to speak about it further.