Written by DiveThru Team
Reviewed by Natalie Asayag MSW, LCSW
Feeling Skeptical: A Guide To Your Emotions
Published Apr 23rd, 2021 & updated on Dec 7th, 2021
There’s lots we could feel skeptical about in our lives. For one, we’re taught to be skeptical of what we see in the media and not believe everything we’re told. When we’re writing an essay for school, we have to find academic sources. We have to be skeptical about where we’re getting information from in order to sift through what’s fact or fake. In this way, being skeptical is a good thing! It’s important to consider the source and always look for the truth. But, can this practice spill over into our emotions? Can feeling skeptical impact our mental wellbeing in negative ways? Sadlyyy, the answer is yes.
It’s not bad to question things or seek answers. But it’s when this doubt is too consuming, and we start to spiral with worry and anxiety that feeling skeptical can become a problem! So let’s dive thru feeling skeptical, what it means and how you can cope with this emotion.
A Deeper Look At Feeling Skeptical
What does it mean to feel skeptical, exactly? We probably have a good understanding, but it doesn’t hurt to check out a reliable definition! Here it is… APA Dictionary defines skepticism as: “noun. an attitude of questioning, disbelief, or doubt.” Sooo ya, it’s safe to say that when we are feeling skeptical, we’ve got a million question marks over our heads.
It’s never a bad idea to sort through the source of our own skeptical feelings. We might use examples from our past to justify how we’re feeling doubtful or suspicious: The last time I shared something personal about myself to a friend, they blabbed all over the place. Why would this new friend be any different? Or: Does my boss actually give a shit about me, or am I just another number? They praise my work, but what if it’s a facade to keep me happy?… Look, it’s normal to sift through our experiences and use them to make new informed decisions. Buuut, overthinking everything and being suspicious can also hold us back!
All in all, feeling skeptical can come down to worry. More specifically, our worry of being wrong. Nobody likes being wrong, okay?! Being wrong or making mistakes can make us feel embarrassed, ashamed or even stupid. But keep in mind that we’re our own worst critic! It’s okay to be skeptical or question things, but ask yourself if it’s more about uncovering the truth, or protecting yourself from being wrong. Those are two very different intentions!
How Feeling Skeptical Shows Up Mentally
Dealing with skeptical feelings can also lead to bouts of worry or anxiety… which can obviously take a bit of a toll on our mental wellbeing after a while! Here are some mental symptoms you might experience when dealing with excessive skepticism:
- Feelings of nervousness or restlessness
- Feelings of danger, panic or dread
- Difficulty concentrating
- Fixating on the thing you’re worried about
- Desire to avoid things that trigger your anxiety
- Obsessions over certain ideas
Being skeptical about certain things isn’t bad, but these mental signs can become a problem if they’re consistent and don’t go away on their own. Together, these symptoms are indicators of anxiety which is a more serious mental health issue than feeling skeptical now and then. If you’re struggling to get through these thoughts and feelings on your own, getting help from a mental health professional is the best route.
How Feeling Skeptical Shows Up Physically
When we feel skeptical to the point where we start to worry a ton, it can make us anxious. And the ways that anxiety affects our physical health? Ooh, it can be rough. Here are some physical symptoms of anxiety you might experience when you feel skeptical constantly:
- Rapid heart rate
- Excessive sweating
- Trembling or muscle twitching
- Digestive problems
- Difficulty sleeping
- Panic attacks
Will you always feel this when you’re skeptical? Absolutely not! Again, these symptoms are indicators of anxiety. If you feel like you’re struggling to cope with skepticism and questioning everything constantly, it could be beneficial to seek help from a mental health professional. You don’t have to navigate these feelings all on your own!
5 Ways To Cope With Feeling Skeptical
Like we said, being skeptical isn’t always a bad thing. But sometimes, it can bring on feelings of worry and anxiousness that we just don’t want to deal with! We don’t blame you. But good news: we have some coping strategies for you! Try ‘em out whenever you need to work through this feeling, it’ll help! We swear.
We’re big fans of journaling here at DiveThru. It’s a great practice for exploring your feelings and reframing any negative thoughts you might be experiencing. You get to put pen to paper and let the words just flow! Does it get any better than that?! We think not.
2. Visualize Your Happy Place
It could be a cozy bookstore on the snowy mountainside with a crackling fireplace. Or maybe it’s the beaches you sun-bathed on during your last family vacay. Whatever your happy place in your mind is, go there! Picturing something that makes you feel warm and at peace can help lift your mood and put things into perspective.
3. Reach Out For Support
Feeling skeptical can consume our thoughts and make us question every little thing. It can be confusing to sort through those feelings on our own, so reach out for support if you need to! Sometimes just having someone to listen to us and validate how we’re feeling makes all the difference. Let it all out!
4. Comfort Yourself Like A Friend
If you don’t have anyone who can be there for you right now, that’s okay. You can be there for yourself! Think about how you would want a loved one to comfort you in this moment. Remind yourself all of the positive things in your life. There’s got to be at least a few that stand out!
5. Engage In Compassionate Self Talk
When you’re feeling skeptical and doubting everything around you, one of the best things you can do is show yourself compassion. Try to engage in some healthy dialogue with yourself: My feelings are valid. I might be experiencing a lot of doubt and negativity right now, but it will pass. I’m not alone. It might feel silly at first, but speaking to yourself with compassion can make all the difference!
Okay friend, that’s all we’ve got for now. Remember: your feelings are valid. Let yourself feel allll of the things! Exploring our emotions is worth it in the long run, no matter how uncomfortable it might be at first. It gets better!