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How often do you find that “just one more thing…” often translates into something much bigger, more significant and much more time consuming than those four little words would initially suggest.

As a G.P I knew that if someone was leaving my consulting room and mentioned “oh, by the way, there was just one more thing” that they were about to share the real reason for their visit. The one thing that was actually weighing the heaviest on their mind, and that those patiently waiting their turn in the waiting room would now have to wait that little bit longer.

So why do we wait, until the very last moment, to share our innermost concerns and thoughts?
Why do some even put it off until lying on their deathbed to share “just one more thing…” before uttering their last breath?

Funny creatures aren’t we.

In many instances I’ve noticed that people don’t like “to be a burden” or to risk being found out that they are worried, anxious or fearful because that might imply to others, that they are weak, unfocused or incompetent.

We care very deeply what others think or feel about us, sometimes to our own detriment. This is because we are highly socially connected and the brain’s need for us to “belong” and be part of the group implies we are then safe. Standing out from the crowd or disturbing the status quo puts us at risk of being seen as being different and at risk of being judged, ostracised or bullied.

Bullying in the workplace is rife.
Many companies and organisations (including schools) proclaim they have anti bullying policies and that bullying will not be tolerated. Pity it is mostly just lip service, because the pain that is inflicted on another human being through bullying cannot be underestimated. Social pain is very real pain and can lead to stress related illness and an increased risk of mental illness.

This is what is being played out in many work and social environments, where those being subjected to ridicule, to those social pinches of exclusion, or eye rolling or nasty text messages are attempting to deal with that pain that only the person experiencing it knows what it is like and how disabling it can be.

Learning how to cope with social pain or social anxiety is what developing our social intelligence is all about. We may not be able to stop others from attempting to wound us with their words or actions, but we can develop those skills to ensure we do know how to fend off those barbed arrows. It’s not about just having a “thicker skin” it’s about understanding how your mind can either react or respond to any given situation. This is where practising mindfulness can assist in calming the mind, removing the clutter of associated emotional thought and allowing you to see far more clearly what the most appropriate way forward would be.

Mindfulness can induce a neurobiological change in just two weeks of practice to help you start to develop a mind that will serve you better and elevate your resiliency and coping skills. Being mindful is a lifestyle habit that with practice leads to a feeling of being more balanced and complete.

My mentor Matt Church when talking about how to deal with the anxiety we may feel prior to speaking in public suggests we remember “the audience is not listening and they don’t care” which beautifully removes the focus of attention away from ourselves and plonks it firmly on the message you wish to share.

Do you have “just one more thing….” or twenty waiting to be shared?
Have you ever experienced social pain and decided not to risk sharing more?
How does your workplace manage bullying?

Dr Jenny Brockis

Dr Jenny Brockis is a medical practitioner and internationally board-certified lifestyle medicine physician, workplace health and wellbeing consultant, podcaster, keynote speaker and best-selling author. Her new book 'Thriving Mind: How to Cultivate a Good Life' (Wiley) is available online and at all good bookstores.

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