How to stop thinking about something embarrassing
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Maybe you said something a bit awkward. Maybe your voice sounded a little weird. Maybe someone gave you a small rejection — like avoiding talking to you. And now your mind is torturing you. Over and over again on repeat.
Dear Lifehacker, Every time I do something embarrassing, I find myself frozen in terror. How can I stop freaking out at every little misstep? Dear Embarrassed, Take a deep breath and relax. While you may not be able to completely shut down the physiological reactions of embarrassing moments, there are plenty of ways to soften their blow and handle them with grace. You may even be able to prevent some embarrassing moments in the future. Our cheeks blush and our hearts skip a beat. We start to sweat and words—if any—come out of our mouths at a slow crawl.
Palm-to-face moments come in all shapes and sizes. From spilling your drink on a hot guy to tanking your work presentation, we all have a bad memory or two or 12 lurking in our noggins. Some you can look back on and laugh hysterically, while others you're still not over, even years later. Maybe you're obsessing about them right now. You've tried ignoring them, you've tried the whole glass-half-full thing, but nothing's worked.
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And yet, embarrassment is one of the most universal emotions. To get over an embarrassing moment, learn to respond externally in a lighthearted way and minimize the incident internally. If you can't get past your embarrassment, consider if another underlying issue might be the cause. And beyond all else, keep in mind: rather than distancing you from everyone else around you, the capacity to experience embarrassment is actually one of the aspects of yourself that connects you to others the most. During an embarrassing moment, it can feel like the world is crumbling around you, but you can get over it by laughing and admitting how embarrassed you are. Avoid making a scene by shouting or running away. Instead, keep in mind that the moment will pass and people are more likely to forget about it if your reaction is mild.
The other day I was putting away laundry, my least favorite chore. What more do you want from me? My mind was wandering this way and that when, out of nowhere, a memory pulled me back to the summer of I was an intern in the health section at msnbc. There were so many things to worry about. Sometimes, I noticed, if I showed up late but was wearing something nice, she would tacitly dismiss my tardiness.
Those are the thoughts racing around your head in the immediate aftermath of that foot-in-mouth moment. Your hand flies up to your face and the red yes, for me it does actually have a color fog of confusion descends…. Yep, discombobulated does it for me as the perfect adjective to describe the embarrassment in the wake of an awkward moment. After all, who wants to relive the blushes and discomfort as you re-imagine the scene of your shame? That in turn causes a widening of the capillaries carrying blood to your skin and, hey presto, the scarlet peril is upon you.