No one is happy, optimistic or confident 100% of the time. Doubt, anxiety, and negative emotions have a place in our lives- they help us fundamentally grow and change. I think of these kinds of thoughts as breezes: they shake things up a little, and sometimes you have to adjust to get back on track.
But sometimes, these thoughts don’t stop. They keep coming, and they spiral. A gentle breeze turns into a full-on tornado, and it can wipe out so many of the good thoughts you have about yourself very, very quickly.
“I’ll never pass this test” turns into “I’ll fail the class” and then “I’ll never get my dream job and spend the rest of my life bitter about not doing what I wanted to do.”
(That’s a pretty big leap from speculating about the outcome of one test, don’t you think?)
I take myself and the things I do pretty seriously. This serves me well when it comes to succeeding academically and accomplishing goals, but sometimes I think I’m a little too serious for my own good. Which means the tornado thing can escalate pretty easily.
Bad grade on a test? “I’ll never get into nursing school.” A friend gets a date? “I”ll be alone forever.” Misjudged the carb count on a new food? “I CAN LITERALLY NEVER EAT THIS AGAIN.”
Letting the tornado escalate can leave you looking at a barren wasteland where you once saw lots of good, positive things about yourself. But how do you stop the tornado?
Step back and take care of yourself, whether that’s through exercise, a Netflix binge, cuddling your dog, or buying yourself something you really want, even if it’s just coffee from your favorite cafe. Do something that makes you feel positively about yourself. I almost didn’t post this because I didn’t think it was any good (“am I a bad writer? Should I give up my blog?”). Instead of deleting the whole post, I closed my computer and had a mini dance party in my living room (I am a big proponent of this method to stress relief.). The few minutes I took for myself reminded me why I write- it’s therapeutic, and I like putting my thoughts out into the world.
So take some time to figure out what makes you feel happy and relaxed- going for a run, taking a hot shower, a cup of coffee and a movie, or vent sesh with your best friend. Anything you can do to stop the spiral of bad thoughts and make you feel better about your strengths and abilities is worth your time. Trust me.