I’m a failure
Can you recall using these words at work:
“I failed, or I’m a failure.”
When we engage in negative self-talk, there is a body response. Often, we don’t notice that response because we are stuck inside our heads. We are self-critical, and continuing that negative narrative becomes our priority.
We said that we failed, and we are looking in our minds for more reasons. Inside our heads, we are looking for ways to sustain that statement.
Probing that we are correct about failure becomes the number one thing in our minds. This negative self-talk keeps building more thoughts. Our emotions get stirred up. You feel worse about yourself. You feel sad, angry, or frustrated as you continue the pessimistic dialogue.
While you are keeping the inner dialogue, your body has been triggering many hormones. These hormones have effects on your body. They change digestion, breathing, heart rate, sugar in your blood, and circulation.
The more you sustain pessimistic thoughts, the more you build up anxiety. This emotional and physical build-up finds a way to come up to the surface. It can come out without warning, and you find yourself in a panic attack at work.
Out of nowhere, you feel that your heart races. There is tightness in your chest, and your breathing is hard. Your body feels out of your control. You try to find a reason for what is happening. You can ask yourself, what did I do? What trigger this?
In the middle of the panic, you feel overwhelmed. Even if you can come up with a likely reason for triggering what is happening, it is not very helpful. Panic is an escape valve. Your nervous system is letting out build-up pressure from stress, emotions, and feelings.
There are ways you can take control of that escape valve. You can use strategies to release a little at a time so it doesn’t build up. It can be as simple as connecting with your body. You can start by sitting for a minute or two and breathe.
Close your eyes and notice your breath. Flow the wave of your inhalation and exhalation. Slowing your breath opens the escape valve and resets your nervous system.
Do these three-times in your day. Also, whenever you feel negative about yourself. Take a short breathing break. You can visualize that escape valve. Releasing stress from your body.
If a situation happens, you made a mistake at work, notice your inner dialogue. If the words I’m a failure, show up again. Pause and breathe as I instructed earlier for one or two minutes. Continue for longer if you feel you need more time.
After taking the breathing break, repeat to yourself. “I learn from my mistakes.” Continue to repeat this phrase until you feel calm.
Use this phrase as a mindful reminder to yourself that failing is not helpful. You can choose a more effective phrase to rise from a challenging moment at work or at any time in your life.
Lifting yourself is not about changing your circumstances. You get lifted because you change your perception. You welcomed an alternative possibility.
“Life is ten percent what you experience and ninety percent how you respond to it.”― Dorothy M. Neddermeyer
What can you do today to let some air out of your escape valve?