Continuing to follow Dr Bill Howatt from Howatt HR on every second Tuesday in the Maintaining Mental Fitness Series 2, has provided more insight on how to maintain our mental fitness not only during a pandemic but during the stressful farming season.  The focus of this session is halting self-doubt.   Dr. Howatt notes that a quick way to drain your battery is through negative self-talk and continuously focusing on it.  Eventually it becomes a reality. It can then take over our mental state which impacts how we see the world.

Healthy Self-Doubt

Self- doubt is not all bad.  It can give us the opportunity to look inward, and keep our egos in check.

Healthy self-doubt can prevent us from thinking we are right all the time and open us up to other points of view. 

Ask yourself this – when was the last time I had some healthy self-doubt?

Unhealthy Self-Doubt

Unhealthy self-doubt can create a barrier to seeing our good qualities.  It robs us from believing in who we are and achieving our full potential.  It is a quality that not everyone pays attention to, even Dr Howatt.  He says, “That inner critic can start to run especially if you are dealing with anxiety.”

Once you start believing self-doubt it is difficult to focus on our main mental health competencies.  If we don’t believe in something, it doesn’t mean we can’t learn how to believe in it.  Therapy starts when a person can see and believe.  First need to see then believe.  Self-Doubt stops us from seeing.

Our Inner Critic

Self doubt is our inner critic.

Things we say to ourselves that exhibit unhealthy self-doubt include:

Self-doubt is meant to actually to protect us but often leads to what we don’t want.  It is a program with a designed flaw.  Intended to help us create questioning which is the healthy part which may prevent us from doing something dangerous or harmful like stepping over the PTO because you know you can clear it, instead of just walking around.

A common self-doubt is identifying a new method of farming that may increase yield but deciding not to go ahead with it as you think you can’t see it through.  Or perhaps deciding to buy new equipment to increase speed and efficiency in processing but deciding it may be a bad idea as you don’t know what lies ahead for the future of farming and you don’t think you can make it work.

The mental framework we create about our abilities influences what we think and do.

Reducing the degree of self-doubt begins with understanding that most of it comes from flawed thinking that can be reframed, removed or at the very least reduced.

How does self-doubt sneak up on you?

If you say you want to do something else, but your brain says you can’t.  Self doubt keeps us in the passenger seat.  You become your own barrier.

Taming self-doubt requires practice and proactivity

  • DON’T TAKE THE BAIT: When your mind throws out an automatic self-doubt don’t take the bait, because if you focus on this thought, more will follow
  • GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK: If you start to doubt yourself, avoid the urge to get angry at yourself, because this doesn’t help you learn or grow.
  • ACCEPT WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL: We often worry about things we can’t control.
  • TRACK YOUR THOUGHTS AND MOOD: Consider keeping a journal, as putting thoughts to paper can encourage new realizations.  When you put your thoughts on paper, they become a reality and acknowledges the path you are on.  This will help you see.
  • SELF-DOUBT CAN BE A SECRET WEAPON FOR BLOOMING: It can help you question results, experiment with new strategies, and be open to alternative ways of solving problems.

What people see within it is their reality, it is what they believe.