Do you sometimes think you can know what other people are thinking? Does your mind jump to conclusions that oftentimes represent the worst-case scenario?
We are part of a very sophisticated species. As people, we are very social beings. Oftentimes, we can pick up on the body language of others, getting a sense of how they feel. Sometimes, however, we imagine that we can accurately infer, or even know, what people around us are thinking. At work, this might happen when we believe our co-workers do not like us, because they choose not to speak with us outside of break times. This can lead to stress and anxiety about our workplace relationships.
Has this ever happened to you? We periodically assume we can read other people’s minds. Sometimes this happens from our own point of view, where we can neglect certain facts. If you find yourself doing this, what would happen if you tried to think like a scientist and strictly utilize reality-based evidence? Try and answer these three questions from the perspective of a scientist trying to understand all the possible explanations of human behavior. What is the likelihood of your prediction being the most accurate explanation for the person’s behavior? What other explanations might explain the observation made about the other person’s behavior? Consider if any of these may also be likely. Is there anything on your mind which is leading you to think about this person’s motivations in a different way? Is this a reflection on your self confidence, recent stress, anxiety, or mood?
Maybe, in reality, our co-workers feel very overwhelmed by how busy they are, and therefore choose not to talk outside of breaks in order to complete their daily tasks. It is important to always consider all the possible explanations for what we observe. If we become certain that the worst-case scenario is true, we may be giving ourselves much more stress and anxiety than the situation calls for. Considering all the possibilities in a given situation is a key component to healthy emotional regulation.
If you find yourself jumping to stressful and negative conclusions, remember to consider all of the possible explanations for the situation you find yourself in. If it will help you, review this example whenever you please, and download the uMore app with the link below!
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