Just the other week I was a victim of comparison that turned into a grand spiral staircase of negative self-talk.
This isn’t the first time I’ve been assaulted like this and I know it won’t be the last. (I also know that it’s quite likely YOU’VE been a victim of this same scenario.)
Sometimes my inner me, my fragile ego, can be such a bitch – to ME!
These Mental Muggings all start the same way – I’m having an innocent conversation with a good friend or I’m perusing social media to catch up on what everyone has been up to. There’s something to celebrate – a new job, a raise, a great relationship, a new home, a new car, a vacation, a puppy, whatevah – and I’m genuinely SO happy for the other person!
Then, my ego looks around my own job/relationship/home/car/vacation/puppy situation and lo – it is unacceptable. Inadequate. Losing the imaginary race that the ego just made up on the spot.
And THEN the brain goes to back this new feeling up. Searching – and finding – more reasons why our [insert current comparison situation here] isn’t good enough. She finds other people who are fulfilling this role more fully than we are. She finds areas where we’re supposedly behind on the map of this new trail I’ve never even seen before.
In no time, my belly is turning and the anxiety is crawling through me as if I had ants underneath my skin.
I start looking at my life in a total panic – where am I? What am I even DOING with my life? Who am I trying to be? Is this who I really want to be? Who do I think I am trying to blaze my own trail, grow my own businesses and buck the system? I’m not that special!
Then I start finding all new ways I’m failing at life that have little or nothing to do with the original comparison problem.
It really can be a never-ending spiral of despair.
In years past, it could last for weeks or even months! Over the past few years, I’ve done a LOT of work to be able to pull myself out of these episodes quicker – I’m still a work-in-progress, but with these tips I can usually snap myself out of it much sooner than I used to be able to.
The sooner you recognize the downward path you’re on, the sooner you can take the steps necessary to get out of it! Self-awareness is key.
I’ve created this Emergency Sheet as a reminder to myself of the steps I need to take to snap out of the Downward Spiral the moment I realize I’m in one and my hope is that it can help you too!
Having this list readily available and then following the steps is huge. When you’re in a state of stress and panic and negativity, your brain won’t allow you to have access to your problem-solving abilities in your prefrontal cortex. You may know the steps to take but your brain will not physically allow you to access them so make sure you keep this list handy and then actually do the things it says to do when you’re stuck in negativity!
I also did a video about this topic which you can watch here.
What steps do you take to get your mindset out of this negative spiral?