Self-confidence might be the hardest thing to acquire. You can work at any menial job to get pocket change. Most information is now free, so you can learn practically anything, except, the most important thing of all: you aren’t worthless. Maybe you’re in a jam. Maybe you’re living well. Maybe you’re just OK. If you accept your core being, the good and bad, then any mistakes you make are permissible. We’re imperfect beings, after all!
I just snuck an extra benzodiazepine from their hidden stash, and was debating when to ease my anxiety, before fully seeing this beat-up keychain I found during a decompression walk. I put back the same medication I had been prescribed after my panic attack and continued my day. Even years later, there are days when it would be nice having that crutch to fearlessly ease into social situations. That’s when I must “stay strong” most.
There’s a point I never want to return to again. It’s a place everyone knowingly or unknowingly has: their worst negative space. Mine lingers under hundreds of layers of hard work, earned gratitude, and lavish praise. When things go bad, it’s like I instinctively dig through those layers to negativity. Since learning to handle life without inebriation, when things get anxious for me, I remember that I have many layers of positivity still shielding me.
A useful idea in overcoming mental anxiety is the mind palace. Let it be a comfortable structure, holding the sum of all of your acquired knowledge, where people may decorate and reside in their own room. These perceptions of people could be close family, good friends, single-serving friends, inspirational figures, imaginary characters, or sworn enemies. You make the house rules and you’re the landlord. Shouldn’t the first rule be forbidding enemies from attempting mental trespassing?
Anything can be stressful, it’s just a matter of preventing those stressful thoughts from lingering in your mind. Let’s use a cooking analogy: your mind is like an oven. That oven “holds” your interpretations of past thoughts, heats new thoughts that you’re working on, and prepares future thoughts you’d like to try. The unfortunate thing is that your mind’s oven doesn’t have a way to prevent you from cooking stressful, negative memories. Or does it?
The mind, for most, has taken priority over the body. The advantages are plenty. Technological activities are sugar-rushes of cerebral entertainment infinitely more exciting than our drab world. Those with physical impairments can now join in, whereas even 20 years ago, social ostracization was normal. The disadvantages are also plenty. The ailments some encounter could result from our sedentary lifestyles. The mind/body imbalance. The wasted potential. The body, for most, has become a rusty tool.
There was a sigh of relief as the computer photographed below worked once again. That is the single most significant memory I treasure most throughout the rough battle that is my career. Moments like that carry me through the stresses of things going wrong, embarrassing myself, general failures, and those moments of self doubt where I really screwed up. When you help others and hear those sighs of relief, treasure them! While not a superhero…
“I end up lashing out at him because he’s the one closest to me.” When we finally express our anger, it’s rarely that event actually breaking our figurative back. It’s the combination of stresses that cause us to lash out: irate people, heavy traffic, prolonged multitasking, sleep deprivation, and infinitely more. Rather than medicate with negative solutions, how about some healthy ways to proactively take control of your anger before you lash out at others?
“I’m really sorry. I thought it was…” Regret, for me, is when the overwhelming gravity of a situation takes fold. Missing an appointment, making a social mistake, breaking something, making something worse, or infinite other situations. Regret might be our way of analyzing the situation to prevent it from reoccurring. That over-analysis can consume us. Instead, I have a couple steps that help me overcome that overwhelming sense of regret that happens frequently in life.
This series, examining the roots of everyday situations called Applied Psychology, arose from my nickname for the technical support field. We signed up for the idea of working on computers. What most didn’t realize was that it’s all, and not mostly, about working on the people that use these computers. We’re like casual psychologists, fixing behavior problems before addressing the technical side of the issue. Let’s muse on some ideas for resolving minor nontechnical anxieties.