So many times when we are in stressful situations, our subconscious takes over. The voice inside our head starts to chatter. “What if I fail this test?” “What if the interview goes poorly?” “What if I make a fool of myself on this date?” “What if I freeze on stage?” “What if I let my team down?” “If this doesn’t go well, then…”
Thoughts tend to spiral further and further out of control from here. We start to worry about how an event can affect the future, and how we may have prepared differently in the past. Our ability to be present, function and focus on the task at hand becomes taxed.
Tell yourself, “it is okay.”
Next time the voice inside your head takes over, tell yourself, “it is okay.” Tell yourself, “it is okay to feel nervous.” Tell yourself, “it is normal to feel anxious.” Tell yourself, “many people have similar thoughts.” Tell yourself, “it is okay to feel this way.”
This simple action brings the feelings out of the subconscious and helps you move through them.
Doesn’t it feel better to know that it is okay, and you are normal for feeling anxious? Doesn’t it feel better to know that many people probably experience the same emotions in these situations?
Once you tell yourself it is okay, all those painful feelings start to soften.
Don’t wait until the day of the test, the date, the speech, the pitch, the interview, the whatever to practice. If you know you have a stressful event coming up, tell yourself every time you study that, “it is okay to feel nervous.” Tell yourself every time you practice that, “it is okay to be anxious.” Tell yourself every time you think about the big day that, “many people have the same thoughts.” Tell yourself, “it is okay.”
The more you pre-wire your brain and bring this awareness to your emotions before the big day, the better prepared you will be to deal with those anxious thoughts when they arise.
This is Mindfulness in action. Mindfulness is the practice of cultivating a higher level of awareness… in this case awareness of thoughts and emotions. By doing this exercise, you are being present and refining your ability to perform better on the task at hand.
Next time your are in a stressful situation, tell yourself, “it’s ok.”
Email me and let me know how it works.
Originally published at themindfuladvantage.com on March 31, 2016.
Originally published at medium.com