Although it might be a coincidence, this morning I had an experience that could connect to the fact it is Blue Monday. As on every regular working day I went to catch a specific train, the 7:39 Intercity to Rotterdam. Due to work on the railway line less trains are running every hour and this Monday I could clearly see the consequences. The platform was crammed with people that usually distribute themselves over three different trains. I was kind of lucky I could still fit in the overcrowded train and had to stand in the pathway without having anywhere to hold myself except the ceiling.
While standing there I was wondering where an annoying beep was coming from. I was looking around and noticed more people were wondering what was producing the noise. As several other people I had my phone in my hand to report I had no seat in this train ride using the railway’s app. The beeping stopped but soon started again and slowly it came to me I could have been the source of the sound…
I started to feel uneasy while frantically looking for an app on my phone that is able to connect to a small device on my key ring. Exactly! The source of the beeping was a tiny Bluetooth device that I can use to track my keys. For some odd reason it had decided to beep as if it was prompted to do so by my phone. I managed to connect and make sure it stopped beeping. A few beeps later it kept quiet but I was still quite embarrassed. I decided to get out a stop earlier and walk 20 minutes to my destination to get over my embarrassment.
But why did I feel so embarrassed? Why heart was beating fast and I almost got lightheaded. Looking back I see it has been a situation where I allowed my mind to play a game with me boosted by the fact I was still recovering from being sick and not yet feeling completely fit. Not feeling well can be extra challenging when having to stay self aware and breath myself through a spinning series of thoughts in order to stop these and focus on the real actions to take in order to solve the problem.
Interesting to see that such a small situation as a device that beeps can lead to quite some stress in a situation where other factors play a role: A overcrowded train, standing uncomfortably without having good support, a stomach that was still not fully cooperating and this beeping device! I was surprised and kind of overwhelmed by the experience. It was a good example of how my mind was able to create an instant moment of anxiety expressed as embarrassment and cause a strong physical reaction. This made it even harder to properly react to the situation and take it just breath by breath, focusing on resolving the cause of the problem in the best way possible.
I’ve also learned that my first reaction in this and probably any other situation is to blame something outside of me, anything else but myself. And that was also part of the embarrassment. I found out that if there was someone to blame for the beeping sound… it was me! So, stop the blame altogether, I had to face my own blame, and that is not nice. And there was no need for blame of any kind. The next time I will try to be more aware of what is happening in that specific moment and first check myself to make sure I am not the cause.