When a Pterodactyl Flys in Your House
Problems. We all get ‘em. But sometimes they seem to come in flocks.
Problem with problems is they tend to build. We see one, we get hooked–emotionally triggered–then our radar (also known as the Reticular Activating System RAS) gets turned on.
Now, you guessed it, we start spotting problems like a major league players spots fast balls. And with our emotional system in a mild-alarm state, each one (problem) we spot adds to the last dose of adrenaline and we get more, and more anxious each moment. We stack the problems, that we’ve so keenly spotted, in top one another like a deck of cards and next thing you know a fly comes in the screen door and we react like it’s pterodactyl.
Your system is so alarmed from collecting so many layers of problems that you’re no longer seeing reality, you’re seeing life through the lens of fear and worry. Every spec of dust has become a pile of dirt.
How To Release Your Stress and Worry
No doubt there’s a thousand ways to de-stress and find the ground, of which, winning the lottery might be the most favored temporary solution. Of course, you could always take your story to a trained psychiatrist and get a prescription for it. (Just kidding of course… knowing that not all docs would do this nor would I recommend it for this sort of “thing.”)
A Simple Mindful Practice for Stress & Worry Relief
Here’s one–another–simple practice that may help you release the magnification of worry and get back to a more accurate view of, dare is say, “reality.”
Get yourself a small notebook. I like them clean to start with so they don’t have any other function. And yes, paper is all important here. There’s a lot of things where electronic works these days but in this case, paper and a pen is truly the magical solution.
- Throughout the day, as problems or opportunities to grasp onto things which provoke fear or worry arise, open your notebook and write them down. Write down the problem as you see it. For example, “My aunt fell and broke her hip. Is going to need therapy for recovery.” and/or “The school function is coming up and we’ve got no coverage for the kids.”
- Now, with each problem,write it down then immediately look at it and make a decision: “Is this something I have control of? Is there really anything I can or must do about this right now?”
- What most people will find is that 80%of the things you list, while you have empathy and concern, are not within your circle of influence. So, you may extend warm thoughts and be available for support for those you love, but this is not really your problem.”
- If that is the case, scratch it out.Let it go. And this is where the paper is so magical for you get the exercise of writing it, which forces some clarity and distance. Then you get, for most things, to scratch it out, releasing it, physically and emotionally.
Now, in cases where there is something you can do about it, or it is your “responsibility” (not problem) write down one thing you can do today about it. Write it underneath your description or on the next page. And this becomes a list of actions. Not for this moment but for today. These should be things you can do, today–or close to. Like, “make a call for baby-sitters.”
After you write it down, let it go. Move on. Back to what you’re doing now. Come back to your list at a set time today.
I encourage you to take this practice on for a couple weeks, at least. Commit to 14 days of it. At that point, you will either feel a lot better and have begun to re-train your reaction process and/or you’ll be so solid at this practice it will just be part of what you do..
I hope you will take this practice on for the 14-days, even if you’re not feeling overwhelm. It’s a wonderful exercise in mindfulness and can help even the most aware gain some much needed perspective and regain some of our strength and energy before we find ourselves well into a tailspin–which we’ve all got coming.
Here’s to your Full Strength and Freedom!