Blimey That Was a Shock, Better Not Over Analyse


Don’t you just hate it when you get a big shock and then spend way too long analysing what you did? How did I stop this behaviour and prevent anxiety following the big shock I had just a few hours ago?

Well, I wasn’t expecting to be writing another article so soon but I just had a big shock and I decided to put into practice what I have learnt about being mindful and feeling positive. If you would like to know whether it is working or not then read on and you can follow my tips to prevent anxiety for you.

The Storey

I was in the supermarket this morning doing the shopping, yes I’m just like you, looking at produce in one of the fridges when an older lady using a walking frame just behind me started to call out.

Oh my, oh my, they’ve fallen, they’ve fallen, someone help

As a proud Surf Life Saving Member, I spun around and assessed the situation. Someone was on the floor just around the corner, I could only see their foot, and nobody else was reacting, there were not a lot of people around.

Amazing how training kicks in as my first thought was DRSABCD, which anyone with first aid and CPR training will recognise.

The person who had collapsed was starting to get back up. It turns out that she was a member of staff at the supermarket and had been heading back around behind the deli counter when she had slipped on a small puddle of water and as she fell had hit her chest on the top of one of the metal posts that protect the counter from trolleys.

She was in significant pain but a few questions later it was clear that she had not collapsed but slipped and she had not hit her head, i.e. following a few questions she didn’t seem to be in need of any further assistance.

Very shortly afterwards a colleague arrived and acknowledged that her friend had just had a fall, and I quickly handed over care. The patient thanked me for being so sweet. 

But could I have done more? What did I do differently to prevent anxiety forming after that question?

Previous Behaviour that Lead to Anxiety

In the past my steps would have been as follows:

\begin{array}{c}\text{shock} \\ \downarrow \\ \text{react} \\ \downarrow \\ \text{act} \\ \downarrow \\ \text{reflect} \\ \downarrow \\ \text{should I have..?} \\ \downarrow \\ \text{I should have..!}*\text{lots} \\ \downarrow \\ \text{worry} \\ \downarrow \\ \text{anxiety} \\ \end{array}

For example, in this situation, I would have started to ask myself questions like “should I have stayed with her” and “should I have done a physical check for other injuries”.

Followed by statements like “I should have stayed longer”, “I should have made her sit down”, etc.

Followed by lots of repeated cycles leading to worry I didn’t do the right thing and ultimately anxiety that the patient is seriously ill and I could have helped more, what if she dies, etc.

New Behaviour to Prevent Anxiety

What I tried today was:

\begin{array}{c}\text{shock} \\\downarrow \\\text{react} \\\downarrow \\\text{act} \\\downarrow \\\text{gratitude} \\\downarrow \\\text{opportunity} \\\downarrow \\\text{value} \\\downarrow \\\text{growth} \\\downarrow \\\text{future} \\\downarrow \\\text{positivity} \\\end{array}

Steps today:

  • Shock – can’t do anything different here, it just happened
  • React – just went with it same as before
  • Act – and do what you know how to do, today that meant recall my training and do that
  • Gratitude – literally say “thank you for happening to me”, this immediately made me feel good
  • Opportunity – recognise there is opportunity in everything so take everything as an opportunity, today there was something to learn
  • Value – everything has intrinsic value, so what was the value in what you did? Today one value was recognising I need to spend more time with a patient before leaving, another value was the patient was better off for me doing the little I did do.
  • Growth – use that value or learning to grow. My knowledge and experience of helping patients has increased.
  • Future – you can’t change the past but you can use your growth to make a better future. Next time I’m faced with a similar situation I will take more time to ensure a better outcome.
  • Positivity – recognising that you found the value and grew from it feels good. I now feel really good, the lady who fell is better off for me being there and doing what I did and I know I will perform even better the next time.

Could I have done better, definitely yes. Does that mean it’s my fault if she did subsequently become seriously ill, definitely not. Do I feel good, yes I do, she was better off I was there and I am better off for next time, win-win.

Tips to Prevent Anxiety

Do you feel anxious following a shock where you reacted (or didn’t react, which is a reaction where you do nothing) and then spun into worry about whether you did the right thing?

If yes then recall the last time this happened and imagine if you had followed the steps above. Do you think you would still be anxious?

Next time you are shocked and act, follow the steps above and notice what your anxiety is like now, then let me know.

Originally published on Mind Patching blog


anxiety, gratitude, opportunity, positivity

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