Introverts have a lot to worry about. We’re constantly at war with our own mind, as we battle against feelings of guilt, overwhelm, and inadequacy. We desperately want to mute our noisy thoughts and stop worrying. But how? How can we stop the endless cycle of worrying about everything from a dumb thing we said five years ago, to the consequences of climate change. How can we end the mental anguish of having a million thought knots that we’ll never untangle? Some people tell us to just stop worrying, as if there were some magical off switch we could access at will. If that were true we wouldn’t be up late doing mental laps around problems we’ll never solve by morning.
Is it a real problem?A lot of the things we worry about aren’t real problems. They’re what I call “candy bar problems”. Constantly chewing on candy bars erodes our teeth. Chewing on imagined problems does the same thing to our brain. It gradually destroys our mental landscapes. But if we would just leave the problem in its wrapper we’d avoid all the unnecessary worry. Winston Churchill explains:
“When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.”Let’s say you’re worried about being judged by your coworkers for eating lunch alone. This is a candy bar problem because it only harms you if you choose to mentally chew on it. It may or may not be true that your colleagues are judging you. Even if they are, what are the consequences? They’re not going to revolt against you and throw stale mac and cheese in your face. If they’re judging you, it will make you feel bad. But wait a second. It’s really your THOUGHTS about their judgments that influence your emotions. Their judgments on their own can’t harm you. You can choose to keep those worries under wraps and save your mental energy for what really matters. Here are a few more quick tips to stop worrying: Related Resources: Feeling Anxious? 6 Tips to Stop Worrying Introvert Confidence Lessons What to Do When Your Mind Turns Against You
Great article. Funny you mention being judged for going to lunch alone. I do this on a regular basis – everyday in fact. One day I did wonder if my colleagues found me strange but then I let it go. I NEED that 45 mins/1 hour to sit in silence, to reflect, to be me. I needed the same time out at school and would regularly sneak off to the library which was a no go zone for the ‘cool’ students!
Glad to hear that you got over the fear of judgment for your solo lunches quickly!
How do I stop worrying? I was once waiting for an LGD with a group of people. We were competing to get some job offer. Some girls started talking to each other but I was too tired to blend in. In the past I would had forced myself to chat along, but I chose to save my energy. I did not ask myself to entertain other people anymore. At first I thought, what if the recruiter judged me as unfriendly or something like that? Should I join those girls in the small talk? But I knew my energy was low and couldn’t need to get any lower just to please others. I still needing my brain to function properly for the next two hours. I had to face the LGD in any moment and also paychological interview later. So, first, worry about your well being. Love yourself. When you are save, you can be a saviour.