One of the most destructive daily habits that I have carried with me for a long time and that I think is very common for many people is the habit of thinking about intimidation.
What is intimidation?
This is when you build a nightmare scenario of how everything can go completely wrong in some situation and imagine a major catastrophe in your mind.
You might have a presentation tomorrow and your mind starts to come up with a scenario where you left your notes at home, you fool yourself, you feel embarrassed in front of the whole company and your boss yells at you for 20 minutes afterwards. Meeting.
Scary stuff for sure.
How did you learn to deal with this?
Let me share with you 7 steps that really helped me.
Step 1: Say out loud, Stop in front of your inner critic.
The catastrophe that is forming in your mind comes from your inner critic.
He tells you, “You’re going to fail because that’s what you’ve always done.”
Or you are not equipped enough.
Or your boss won’t be happy with your offer for one reason or another.
or all of it.
So stop the inner critic quickly. In your mind, as soon as these thoughts appear, shout:
Or: “No, we’ll never go that way again!”
This will disrupt this train of thoughts and help you start feeling more balanced again.
Step two: focus on your breathing.
After jamming the thought stays for a minute or two. Sit down if you can.
Focus on your breath and exhale only. nothing else.
This will calm your body from stress and help your mind to think more clearly and go back to what is happening right now in the moment rather than getting lost in future nightmares.
Step 3: Look to the past for the truth.
Think back to your past.
How many times in the past have these disaster scenarios that your mind throws at you become a reality?
I never, or very few times, would have guessed. That was definitely the case for me.
So remind yourself of actual facts from the past to calm yourself down more and draw yourself back into the more centered version of yourself.
Step 4: Talk about it and get input from a high-ranking friend.
In many situations in my private life, the first three steps have helped me come out of a disaster scenario and think more calmly and clearly.
But sometimes this combination is not enough. There may still be some negative thoughts and inner tensions that could start to build up again.
If that’s the case, the only thing I’d like to do is let the disaster go out. I’m talking to someone close to me.
By doing this, once I vent and someone listens for a few minutes, I can often see the situation for what it is. So calm down.
Or someone who is listening can help me out a bit more if needed and lend me their insight.
It helps me solidify myself in reality again and has also helped me many times to find a solution or the first step I can take to start changing this situation into something better if necessary.
Step Five: Stop making a mountain out of a hill.
The other thing that often helps me is to ask myself a question that lets me zoom out and see if honestly I’m making a mountain out of a hill here (or nothing at all).
So I ask myself:
Does this matter in 5 years? Or even within 5 weeks?
The answer usually won’t happen. Although at first glance it may seem that way when you are in a very stressed and anxious vacuum.
Step 6: Say stop to yourself when you know you simply can’t think properly.
When I am hungry or need to go to bed and get some sleep, I know from experience that I am prone to catastrophic and pessimistic thoughts.
so what do I do?
I tell myself this:
No, no, no, we won’t think about this now. We’ll think about this situation or challenge later, after we’ve gotten some sleep or food.
Doing this simple thing helps a lot.
Because when I’m not hungry or well rested again, my problem I’ve been working on will most often be small to non-existent when revisited with some clear thinking.
Or it would at least be easier to find a solution or a plan to make things better if there was really a real challenge I needed to face.
Step 7: Minimize any weekly entries that bring these disaster scenarios to the fore.
People and other resources that exist such as TV, social media, and various websites or forums have a huge impact on your thinking.
So be careful about what you put in your mind daily and weekly. Ask yourself:
Is there a person or source in my life that is reinforcing my catastrophic habit?
Examples of such sources might be a very pessimistic person, online news, or a social media platform that you find feeding a lot of negativity in your mind.
When you find something like this in your life, ask yourself:
What can I do this week to spend less or no time with this person or source?
Then take action on it and spend the time you have now freed up this week with one or a few of the most optimistic sources/people in your life.
Do this – in the coming weeks or months – with as many resources as needed to create a healthy environment for yourself and your thoughts.