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When times are tough, it’s okay to wallow, but not permanently. So only wallow for a while. Sometimes things just do get on top of us a bit and we just need to take a break, step back and, you know, dive under the duvet, but not for life and not for long. So yes. Give yourself a break. Take some time out. Treat yourself. Disappear. Look after yourself -but only for a while, don’t make it a permanent state.
That’s an easier thing to say than to do; for many, many people letting go is a real skill that takes time and effort to develop. But here’s the point. If there is absolutely nothing you can do about it, then not letting it go has some serious downsides. The first one is it’s preoccupying you, which probably means that you worry about it, even though you can’t do anything about it. So it’s a bit of an unproductive, emotional state to worry without being able to resolve. And secondly, of course it occupies you and therefore prevents you from getting on with things that you can do. So worrying is not a productive or action centered strategy. It takes you down. It may also take down the other people who are close to you.
Apparently in India, if you try and catch a monkey, you build a little perspex cage sunk into the ground with a little hole at the side, and inside the cage, you put bananas. Apparently monkeys go mad for bananas. So the hole is big enough for the monkey to put their hand in and reach out and get the banana. But of course, when they try and get the banana back out, they can’t because the fist now holding the banana is too big to come back out through the hole. But rather than let go of something they desire something they hang on to it, and so they remain trapped and easily caught.
So it’s kind of a little metaphor for all of us. Do we hang onto things that really we should let go of because it will set us. Free?
Forgiveness is a really powerful concept. Many of us in life will have been hurt. We’ll have been upset. We’ll have been let down and, and our natural reaction is to resent that, and to carry that hurt and pain with you.
But in fact, the only person who’s really suffering with that hurt is you. If you can learn to just let it go and forgive, to move on, you absolutely will be healthier and more resilient. You will have brought about closure on the event, and the pain.
We all have a stock of assets, mental, physical, emotional, and just like water in a reservoir they can deplete because they’re all being used up far more than they’re being replenished. So in order for a reservoir to work, the outgoing has to be topped up with the incoming. So how is your reservoir balance? are you spending excessively without topping up?
So there’s two things there. One is be careful about how much of your emotional, physical, and mental reservoir you spend, and think also about what you are actually doing to keep that topped up. What do you do to build and sustain your emotional, physical, and mental wellbeing? Be careful not to get depleted in your personal reservoir, keep your reservoir topped up.
A good way to keep our reservoir topped up is to do thee three things. Eat well. Sleep well and exercise well. it should be everybody’s daily mantra. What really matters is your wellbeing, your overall health. So find strategies that help you build that. And they usually revolve around how well you sleep, which is not only how long you sleep, but the quality of your sleep, how well you eat, and how well you exercise? And that doesn’t mean to say you have to be a gym bunny. I go for a walk every day. I don’t go anywhere near a gym. The main thing I think is about moving, about keeping your body active. So go dancing, dance around the kitchen when you’re making a meal or just before you sit down to eat, take the stairs rather than the lift, just go for walks to the park. Just move. Don’t become too much of a couch potato.
I’m a huge fan of this. I wake up and I think usually somewhere during the day, I really am lucky. You know, the life I have.
Is in many ways in global terms, my life, and possibly your too, is exceptional. There are so many other people – millions, billions of people far, far, far worse off than me. So really, really what have I got to grumble about? You know, I’ve got my health, my wellbeing. I’m a happy bunny. Why wouldn’t I be with so much to be grateful for. So let’s not get things out of proportion, keep a sense of perspective.
And I think it’s just useful every morning to wake up and think, you know, I’m lucky to be who I am, where I am with who I’m with.
What I mean by that is that is that in any given situation, see, and look for the positives in it.
Somebody said to me the other day, you know, we had a lot of rain recently and I said, yes, isn’t everything green, vibrant and healthy looking? You know, rain can be seen as a negative, sure.. People get wet and it looks cold and miserable, but the land is being nourished. It’s why we have such lush pasture in this green and pleasant land. So look for the positives in things. For example, if yo have to face a difficulty, then frame it as a challenge. Have some positive self talk, such as: “Let’s see how I do. How can I manage this as well as I can?” So it’s about mindset.
This is a kind of three point tip. You’re asking yourself three questions as you face something that might be taking you down or causing a concern or a worry. Question one: what’s the worst that could happen? Two: how likely is it to happen? and three – then what, what will I do if the worst happens? There’s two things about the third question. One is that it really gives you a sense of perspective. What’s IS the worst that could happen? Well, that might happen, but how likely is it? And even if potentially going to happen, what would I do about it? Because I still have to have some kind of reaction if the worst comes to the worst. So some people have a real struggle with thinking through the possibilities of difficulty.
As soon as they see something, they’ll frame it to be going to be bad. The outcome would almost be bad. Get more of a sense of perspective, but asking the three questions, what’s the worst that can happen. How likely is it? And then what?
It’s a big word. It’s a funny word, really, but it’s seeing the worst in everything. You know that some people have a frame where if there’s uncertainty, it’s bound to go wrong, it’s bound to be bad. It’s never going to work. I always tell this little story about my mum, bless her.
She’s really quite tiny. And then. Nervous in some areas and she decided she wasn’t going to learn how to drive. And when I asked why she said, well, I might have an accident and kill myself or kill somebody else. I said, okay. So how are you going to get around? And she said, well, I’ll just go by public transport.
And I said, well, then what if you’re in a vehicle? Oh, she said, yeah, of course they can crash as well. Can’t they? So, um, I’ll just be a pedestrian. And I said, well, what could happen to a pedestrian said, yeah, yeah, of course pedestrians can be knocked down. I tell you what, I’ll just stay in my house. Two up, two down.
And then what? Oh yes she said, I heard the other day about somebody falling down the stairs, breaking their neck. I said, so what are you going to do? And she just looked at me and smiled and said, it’s ridiculous. Isn’t it? I said, yes it is ridiculous. You know, life is actually risky, something untoward and unhelpful, and really sad happens to somebody somewhere every day.
But it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t live our life as fully as we can.
It’s a three-step approach. The first step is to recognise when you’re worrying. For me, my stomach churns, but other signs could be tight shoulders or neck ache or sweaty palms or palpitations….There’s usually some physiological sign that you’re worrying that you should learn to recognize when you are starting to worry. And as you do move to the second step: create what we call a program interrupt -something that’s going to stop you in your tracks. I have a mental image of a flashing red neon sign that simply says stop stop, stop. So I’ve now associated the churn in my stomach with this flashing neon sign. So the second step is to create what we call a program, interrupt; it drops the worry program. It stops you in your tracks. And then the third step is to move into a five step problem solving thinking frame. Here are the five steps. What’s the problem? Why is it a problem? What are my options? Which of those do I prefer? Do it. That’s it. And while I am working my way through those five steps, all of which will make me think about my answers, I don’t have the mental space to worry. The mind cannot equally pay attention to two separate thought processes. So either the worry will beat the problem solving or the problem solving will beat the worry.
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