When we make a mistake at work, we replay it in our head for days or even weeks? This kind of overthinking is called rumination, and it can lead to serious anxiety.
To break out of the cycle, there are a few things we can do. For one, identify the rumination triggers. Do certain types of people, projects, or decisions make us second-guess ourselves? Notice when (and why) a situation is causing to start overthinking things. And try avoiding it for some time till we are back to normal.
It can also be useful to distance from negative thoughts by labeling them as thoughts or feelings. For example, instead of saying “I’m inadequate,” we can say “I’m feeling like I’m inadequate.” These labels can help us distinguish what we’re experiencing from who we truly are as a person and an employee.
Another way to short-circuit rumination is to distract ourselves. When our brain won’t stop spinning, try taking a walk, meditate, workout or fill out an expense report — do any simple activity to focus on for a few minutes.
With practice, we can overcome the rumination and get back to our productive selves.