Spotlight effect thinking

Your brain can make the mistake of making you feel that the whole world is focusing on you and is interested in everything happening in your life.

Of course, in reality, most people are too busy with their own lives to truly bother much about your life. Psychologists call this kind of stupid thinking, where one wrongly thinks that everyone is focusing on him or her, as the “spotlight effect”.

Below is a short example of how the spotlight effect can cause harm.


Rachel works in a large office with many co-workers. She recently underwent a divorce and was really worried that everyone in the office was talking about her and judging her actions. Rachel was so worried about facing her colleagues that she even decided to take some days off work.

However, when Rachel eventually returned back to work, the reality was much different to what she had imagined. It was true that as soon as the divorce had happened, her co-workers had talked a little about it. However, within only a few hours, they had other things on their minds and had not bothered talking about her divorce further. After a few days, absolutely no one was interested. In fact, soon after Rachel returned back to work, most of her colleagues were sympathetic to her. The spotlight effect type of thinking done by Rachels’s brain had made her worry needlessly. Her divorce was difficult enough, and this type of thinking had unnecessarily made it worse.


As you saw in the above example, the spotlight effect type of stupid thinking can cause one to be unnecessarily distressed. So whenever you feel that the whole world is looking at you, try and remember that in reality, people are too busy to worry too much about the ups and downs of your life.