This is a reprint of an emailed article by Kim Allen of HeartMath.

Have you ever sent the wrong email to the wrong person? I know I'm not the only person who's ever done this and there's a good chance I will do it again! Yet the embarrassing, worrisome and anxious feelings that sometimes follow the mistake have the potential to put me into a tail spin and ruin an otherwise good day.

What is it about human nature that makes it easier to dwell on the one thing we did wrong rather than on everything else we did right?

Mistakes are what they are. Feeling badly about them is only an opinion based on a limited perspective. That's because 'beat myself up' thoughts and emotions like guilt, worry and "I can't do anything right!" trigger a cascade of physiological responses that not only wear us down, they prevent us from thinking clearly or seeing the situation any other way. We literally can't remember all we do right.

Don't let yourself get caught in this vicious cycle. Next time you make a mistake, get neutral first: Heart focus. Heart breathing. This will help stop the nonproductive, negative emotions or thought loops. Then, activate a heart feeling, like appreciation or care. Remember what it is you do well and all the times you don't make mistakes. From this coherent state, ask yourself what would be a more efficient or effective response or action. If the mistake needs corrective action, you'll maximize your ability to make the best choice about what to do about it.

This reduces your stress so you are able to get back to the business of the day with more energy.


  1. Great advise.

    I’ve never sent the wrong email to the wrong person but I have sent the wrong text to the wrong person. I was so embarrassed for a long time. Tip: don’t rush to send a text message while rushing to the bathroom early in the morning. You might send it to the wrong person and have to answer the phone while in the bathroom. Then you have to explain how you are too stupid to text message and thank them for calling you right back because all it said was "Call Me". Not to mention how you have to feel stupid for a good long time because you worried a friend. Guess who makes sure she looks several times before sending a text.

    Thanks again for calling stupid me right back.

  2. There is a great book I'm reading with two girls from my church called "Self Talk, Soul Talk". It takes you through ways to stop the "beating up of the self" after mistakes, big or small. We've enjoyed so far... simple and basic stuff, but we often forget the simple basic stuff.

    Your post is another affirmation for me to remember that mistakes usually aren't worth the grief we give ourselves afterwards.

  3. Oh, careless me has done it several times over - both sending text to the wrong person and being so embarassed over it. Once, I sent an email to the wrong person and thankfully I was able to save the day without causing any damage - that was a real lesson learnt and now I keep reminding myself to double check the email addresses before clicking send. One of my good friends was not able to stop it and it was miscontrued by the other party. A few of us friends spent months trying to mend the relationship. It was hard.

  4. The caption for the poster is too depressing :(


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