Archives for April 2017

How can I reduce anxiety and stress, and what does gravity have to do with it?

Butterfly 70x70

You’re probably reading the title of this post and wondering what I’m going on about, right?

Well… gravity (or at least thinking about it) has a LOT to do with reducing anxiety and stress, as it is all about how you frame situations you are facing.

In order to make some sense, I will tell a story now, and hopefully it will all come together for you!

Back in the year 2000, I was working for one of Australia’s major banks and had been working there for almost 5 years. One day, we were all called into a meeting – that is, several hundred of us were all called into a meeting! My coworkers and I knew something was up!

It turns out they were moving operations to another state and our office was closing down. We had the option to request a transfer, otherwise our positions were being made redundant and we would need to seek work elsewhere. I was pretty happy about this news, as it meant a fresh new start for me, however some of my coworkers were extremely upset.

To help us to cope with the upcoming change, the bank set up various “educational” sessions. In one such session they brought in a man to speak to us.

What he had to say was something I will never forget and it’s helped me to deal with so many stressful situations in my life – what he said was freaking awesome! And here goes (I hope I can do his words justice)!
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Have you ever heard of gravity?

That’s right, it’s that “thing” that keeps you stuck to the ground, it’s that thing that stops you floating off into space. It’s that thing that makes my pen drop from one hand to the other (at this point he demonstrates holding his right hand up while holding a pen, and then he lets go of it. His left hand is ready to catch the falling pen).

See that? Gravity just made my pen drop into my left hand. That’s what gravity does!

Right.. so we all know what gravity is and what it does. So hands up anybody who spends hours upon hours each day, worrying about gravity.

He drops the pen from one hand to another again.

Anybody?

No hands are raised.

So nobody spends hours each day worrying about gravity, huh? We all know it exists and what it does, but we spend no time at all worrying about it, because it just “is”! It’s just there, we have no control over it, it makes things fall, it keeps us stuck to the earth, and it makes our boobs sag!

The audience agrees.

Ok… so we know it is there and we know we can’t control it, so we don’t spend any energy worrying about it… because worrying about it won’t make it go away, will it? It’s just there. It just IS.

The audience agrees again.

Ok, so why do we spend so much time worrying about other events and “things” in our lives that we have no control over…?

The audience is silent, possibly pondering this very good question!

Surely worring about those won’t make them go away either, right?

Again the audience is silent.

You see, so many of us spend all of our time worrying about events or things we have absolutely no control over. Why do we do that?

We know that worrying about it won’t change it or make it go away. We know that worrying about it won’t fix things. So why do we spend all of our time worrying about it, when instead we should be working out how we deal with the situation!!!

So here’s my pen (holds up pen). I know gravity will make it drop, so what do I do? I get my other hand ready to catch it! That’s how I’m dealing with gravity! Saggy boobs? Wear a supportive bra!

Can you see where I’m getting at here?

Here you all are, facing redundancies as your jobs are moving to another state. You can spend all of your time worrying about it, or you can instead put your energy into working out how to deal with it!

How many of you have started applying for new jobs? Maybe you wanted to start your own business, and this is your opportunity to do so!

You have no control over the decision your employer has made, but you sure as hell can control what you do about it from this point on! Worrying about it will not change the fact that your employer has made this decision, so it’s now time to think about what you CAN control and what you can do about this situation!

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By now you’ve probably worked out how life changing this concept was for me. I no longer sweat the small stuff. I no longer stress about situations I can’t control. I also no longer worry about other people’s actions, as I have absolutely no control over them either. Instead I focus on what I can control and what I can do about a situation!

So no matter what your situation, whether it’s the loss of a job due to redundancy like what happened to me, your guy cheated on you, or you failed that test… you can’t control those things, just as I couldn’t. But you can control what you do about it and how you react to it.

  • Lost your job? Start a job hunt asap!
  • Your guy cheated on you? Reflect on your part in the relationship and work on what you can do better next time (fyi there are no excuses for cheating, and I’ll never condone it, however it’s always good to reflect on how you can enter the next relationship as a better person), forgive him for being dumb enough to lose the best thing he ever had, and put yourself back out there! Or instead, choose to spend more time with your girlfriends and pamper yourself for once.
  • Failed the test? Nothing can change the fact that you have failed the test. Can you re-sit the test? If so, study MUCH hdarder! If not, you’ve learned a big lesson and you’ll need to take it on the chin. What else CAN you do to get past this?

I think I’ve rambled on for long enough, but I think you get the idea. Focus on what you can control, not on what you can’t!