Everyone makes mistakes at some point, but messing up something really important can be very frustrating. You may feel angry, embarrassed, sad, or simply frustrated! Regardless of how you feel, the important thing is that you can calm down and overcome your emotions to leave your mistakes behind. Fortunately, there are several strategies that will help you achieve this.
Part 1 of 3: Take a break
Step 1. Take a break for a few hours
After realizing you've screwed up something important, don't try to do anything rushed and driven by emotions. Your mind is probably racing and you have palpitations. In this time of confusion, it is very important that you refrain from making important decisions or doing things that you might regret.
You probably feel like you have to start repairing the damage immediately, however it is important that you avoid doing anything at this time
Step 2. Find a quiet and lonely place
The last thing you need now is noise, excitement, and unwanted social interactions. You can go to your room, a private office, or the basement. Close the doors. Turn off your phone and computer. This will prevent you from doing something impulsive and ill-advised.
Step 3. Focus on your breathing
After you've screwed up something important, you're probably breathing short and shallow or unconsciously breathing with your chest. Once you notice this behavior, make an effort to modify it. To do this, focus on taking long, deep, mindful breaths from your diaphragm and abdomen. In practice, you will feel that you are breathing from the stomach instead of the throat.
- Deep breathing will allow you to reduce the level of stress, slow down the heart rate and provide better oxygenation to the body.
- Humans have used this breathing method for thousands of years through yoga and medication. In addition, these techniques have been scientifically proven to help manage stress and anxiety.
Step 4. Try to reach a level of mindfulness
Don't be obsessed and avoid constantly reminding yourself of your mistake. Work on your mind to stop jumping to conclusions about the consequences of your mistakes. Reaching a level of mindfulness involves concentrating on the present, the immediate environment, and bodily sensations. Become aware of your own sounds, temperatures, aromas and sensations. This will help you relax.
Part 2 of 3: Dealing with Emotions
Step 1. Express anger in a calm way
If you express anger through yelling, hitting, or any other aggressive behavior, your anger is likely to escalate. Instead, try to calm yourself and release your anger through non-aggressive behaviors.
Write your feelings in a journal or call a friend to tell them what happened and how it made you feel
Step 2. Cry if you need to
Crying is a natural process that releases stress hormones and toxins from the body. After shedding the tears, you may be able to regain your sanity.
It is very important that you keep in mind that crying is not a sign of weakness, but a natural psychological and biochemical process of humans
Step 3. Laugh at the situation
When you make a mistake, you will probably feel embarrassed. The best way to deal with embarrassment is to laugh. Try to find some funny aspect of the situation and allow yourself to laugh.
For example, if you've failed a presentation, try laughing at how strange it must have seemed that you couldn't decide whether to sit or stand
Step 4. Make a list of the things that have gone wrong and try to consider possible solutions
This is a very powerful tool to overcome anxiety. If you are nervous about what has happened, write down everything that has gone wrong. This list will help you process the emotions related to the error and develop possible solutions for the future.
For example, if you think you have not performed well on a test, make a list of questions that have been difficult for you to develop a new study strategy for the next test. You may identify some areas that you can improve to minimize the effects of the test on your grade, such as asking your teacher how you can improve it
Step 5. Don't beat yourself up
While it is important to acknowledge mistakes in order to learn from them, it is also essential that you forgive yourself in order to move on. Working on your emotions also involves acknowledging that you are a human being. Regardless of the severity of the mistake, accept that, like everyone else, you have the right to make mistakes sometime.
- Many people find peace by repeating a mantra to silence negative or self-destructive thoughts.
- For example, you can repeat: “I am only human, I do the best I can. This is the best I can do”.
Part 3 of 3: Moving on
Step 1. Try to put things in perspective
Even if the error was serious, remember that all situations are temporary. You may feel very bad right now, but keep in mind that this feeling will not last forever. Make sure to keep remembering that these feelings are temporary. This will allow you to move on.
Step 2. Seek support from your family and friends
Virtually everyone has screwed up something important at some time. In fact, perhaps someone you know has made a much bigger mistake than yours. This will help you put the problem in perspective. Even if their experiences are different from yours, you will feel better talking about the problem, venting, and getting the anguish out of your chest.
If you're having a hard time getting your friends or family to listen to you, or you just feel like their answers aren't helping you, consider talking to a counselor or therapist
Step 3. Apologize, if necessary
In some situations, making a mistake can affect other people. Therefore, it will be important that you apologize and make an effort to do so as soon as possible. Consider whether your mistake has hurt the feelings of others. In this case, be prepared to apologize.
You can say, “I am very sorry for what I have done. I know my actions affected you and I feel very bad about it. Would you forgive?"
Step 4. Forgive yourself
Building up resentments toward yourself will keep you from moving forward. Therefore, it is essential that you can forgive your mistakes. This may be difficult at first, but time will help you to achieve it.
- Write yourself a letter expressing your understanding of what happened. Imagine that you are writing to yourself as if you were a friend. Be kind to yourself.
- Repeat: "I forgive myself" throughout the day. The more you repeat it, the easier it will be to believe in it.
Step 5. Make a new plan
You may have screwed up option X, but keep in mind that you still have other possibilities. Now is the time to explore other options. The process can be exciting! Make a list of new possibilities and lines of action. Allow yourself to dream of how rewarding the entries on your list can be.