What you’re thinking is holding you back – part two

So my loves, did you spend some time writing a big list of your achievements this week? Did you recognise those small and big things you’ve smashed out of the park over the years? Give yourself a big pat on the back you gem! Taking time to focus on these things will help ease your anxiety when faced with big challenges. It’ll show you, you CAN do things that seem out of reach and give you that little confidence boost you need.

So this week I’ll take you through some more unhelpful thinking styles that you might be having, which are holding you back, causing you unnecessary anxiety and knocking your confidence.

Shoulda, coulda, woulda…

Do you ever find yourself thinking you should be doing this or must be doing that? I should be married by now. I must go to the gym more. I should see my friends more often. She should call me regularly. He must get up earlier. I should be further in my career at my age. She shouldn’t wear that. I should be a better friend/sister/parent. Using the word ‘should’ automatically makes us feel guilty, pressured, defeated and causes anxiety. Who said you or anyone else should be or do anything? Who makes the rules? You do! By thinking you ‘should’ be doing something, you’re putting unrealistic expectations on yourself and others.

I still find myself doing this, it’s bloody hard to not think I should be better at what I do or I should be living my life in a certain way. By becoming more aware of this thinking style, you will find yourself doing it less often. Never feel that you should be a certain way or should do anything…you’re right where you need to be and you’re doing your best. Removing should and must from your vocab is a tricky one, but if you want to feel less guilt and pressure you can:

  • Try and replace it with a benefit – I want to go to the gym as it puts me in a good mood for the day
  • Focus on your values – it’s important for me to look after my physical health

You’re blowing things way out of proportion…

Hands up if you’ve ever been told you’re blowing things out of proportion… My hand is waaaay up there. When I was younger, I would hate it if my dad went out for a few drinks because I would think that something bad would happen to him. I’d sit thinking of all the worst things and wouldn’t sleep until he got home. My thinking was that if I thought of all these bad things then I was preparing myself for the worst and wouldn’t be caught off guard. Sounds crazy I know! In past relationships I’d find myself worrying that if I left during an argument then we’d split up and so I’d pander to them and end up apologising when I wasn’t in the wrong. This seriously ate away at my confidence.

This style of thinking is known as catastrophising. Thinking ‘what if’ or ‘oh god’ can escalate quickly to the point where it all seems out of our control. It’s one of the more common things that causes my anxiety to rise. Imagine going through life always worrying about the worst thing that could happen, where’s the joy in that? Whenever you find yourself excessively worrying like this I have a few handy questions to ask yourself:

  • What would you say to someone else who was thinking this?
  • Is there any evidence to prove what you’re thinking?
  • How will you feel about this situation in 6 months time?
  • What’s more likely to happen?
  • What’s the worst that can happen?

I love that last one and use it a lot. What’s actually the worst that can happen? When I recently quit my job (yep, that was a scary and huge decision to make!!), I had to ask myself exactly that. As I kept asking myself the question, in reality I knew that the world wasn’t going to end, I wasn’t going to die and I have people around me who I could call on if I was in desperate need of help or support. When starting this blog I asked myself this again. What if no-one read it? So what? Again, no drama, the world doesn’t end and I’m safe and well.

Ridding yourself of thinking the worst is pretty liberating. You’ll find yourself taking more chances, building your confidence and feeling less weight on your shoulders.

Weekly task –  what’s the worst that can happen?

I’d love you to think about something you’ve been scared to do and have been putting off because you’re thinking of the worst outcome. Maybe it’s as simple as a conversation with a friend. Or, maybe it’s a biggy like leaving your job. Spend some time asking yourself what really is the worst thing that could happen? Would it really be that bad? And, if those bad outcomes do come to fruition, so what? Will you fall flat on your face? If you did, you’d dust yourself off and crack on.  Will the world end? No! Will your life improve in any way? Great!

You only get one life, make it one you love.

Until next time.

Kirsty x

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