What keeps you awake at night?

Description of hands creeping out of the ocean

It’s that time of year when we’re surrounded by all things spooky and scary.

But what is it that REALLY keeps you awake at night?

I think for me, the biggest thing I struggle with is self doubt.  And it’s definitely something that creeps up on me.

Things That Go Bump In The Night

It often starts off with an uneasy feeling.  I begin to feeling unsure when I’m making decisions.  Then I’m overthinking decisions and actions.  Worrying about all the possible things that could go wrong. And dithering or putting off doing things, because “what if it does all go wrong?”.

The Ghost of Decisions Past

If you recognise that this happens for you too, then you might also be visited by the ‘Ghost of Decisions Past’.   You know the one…it often starts lurking around 3am when you can’t sleep, and the suddenly you’re replaying conversations and situations over again in your mind, and you hear the whispers of mistakes and regrets gone by.

Unwelcome Visitations

We’d like to think that we can shake off these ‘visitations’, but their effects can remain with us subconsciously.  It’s almost as though a little poisonous seed has been planted, which starts to latch on to our conscious thoughts.  And then every time we try to make changes or take action, the little seed sends out the venom to kill off our positive ideas.

Facing The Demons

There are things that can help to tackle self doubt, however.

For me, this first step is being able to notice when it’s there.   Because it is something that often creeps up on us, so we might not even notice it at first.  Getting curious and asking what is behind those uncomfortable feelings can sometimes help to pinpoint what is triggering it.

Secondly, it also helps to consciously recall and focus on the times where I have overcome my doubts in the past.  Or at least, persevered in spite of it.  Because feeling uncertain and anxious about the outcome in certain situations is normal.  So if I can recall at time where I was dreading something, but actually it turned out better than I’d anticipated, then this can remind me that my thoughts are not always true.

And thirdly, I write myself a realistic plan.  Because I know that feeling unprepared will pretty much always lead to me feeling less confident.  If I have the time, then I like to think of some possible outcomes or scenarios and then ask myself what I could about it.  The key thing here though is to keep it realistic – that means not getting carried away with every possible outcome, but which ones are most likely, and which outcomes can I control.   

So if self doubt is an unwelcome visitor for you, try some of these ideas out for yourself.  The only way to conquer those fears is to face them.

Photo credit:  Daniel Jensen via Unsplash.com

Don’t allow self doubt to hold you back

One of the most common, but unhelpful, thinking patterns is self doubt.

When things go wrong, or don’t go to plan, it is so easy for us to look within ourselves as the first point of blame.

Once we get stuck in that cycle, it can be harmful and upsetting.  And we can become fearful of putting ourselves out there again.

If you recognise that self blame is something that you notice in your own thought patterns, try asking some reflective questions:

Is what’s happened within my control?

What did I do, or not do, that affected this outcome?

What could I do differently next time?

Do I need some help or practice in order for me to do that?

Learn to coach yourself

Any good coach would take you through this process of reflective learning, in order to help you grow and develop.

By being able to practice this kind of reflection on yourself, you can take back control over how you react, and how you will act in future.

Photo credit: Paolo Nicolello on Unsplash