Half a Glass of Water
January 10, 2014
This sort of follows on from my musings about looking on the bright side… because I know that sometimes it can be a really difficult thing to do.
I confess that I don’t handle stress very well. If something is on my mind my natural “default setting” is to churn it over and over and over… but just constantly thinking about something doesn’t change it… taking action is the only thing that can change it. Which is why I became interested in NLP. I know that there are many differing views about it but, for me, it really helped me to understand my thought processes and taught me techniques which I have found really useful – particularly when it comes to my weight loss journey.
As a “comfort eater”, stressful situations were often the trigger for me to seek out comfort food – they didn’t change the situation at all – the only thing they did change was my waistline and the more the weight crept up the more stressed I became about my weight gain, at which point my “comfort eating” would kick in and the cycle would continue.
Life is a sequence of events and reactions… And for me, stress is something that I experience when I’m anxious or fearful about a given situation or event and in the past my endless “dog with a bone” attitude just raised my stress level even higher, at which point I would revert to my standard “reaction” – to eat or drink to try and comfort myself. But the fact of the matter was eating a jam doughnut or drinking several glasses of wine didn’t really change the situation. It sometimes temporarily made it look different, so two bites into the doughnut or after a couple of glasses of Rioja, I could kid myself that everything was okay, but actually the only thing that had changed was my calorie intake… the situation was still the same and I still hadn’t taken action to address it, I had simply taken action to “mask it” temporarily.
Now I have a different set of “tools” to help me in stressful situations and to stop me from comfort eating. I have come to realise that just “churning” a problem over does nothing but increase my stress level and so I now try to make a conscious effort to think clearly and as calmly as possible about a situation. Sometimes it works, other times I cannot easily think of a solution… but if that happens I now try to “park” the situation until my mind is able to focus on it without going into a tailspin.
I have come to learn that I cannot resolve anything when I an anxious or stressed; I have also learned that reaching for “comfort” in the form of food or drink doesn’t resolve anything either. But the most important thing I have learned is to give myself “breathing space”
… time to breathe deeply, take stock in a calm and focussed way, and then to try and come up with strategies and solutions. Sometimes it’s difficult to do, and one thing that really helps me is to think of the “half a glass of water” lesson that a friend of mine shared with me and which I would like to share with you…
A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they'd be asked the "half empty or half full" question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: "How heavy is this glass of water?"
The answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.
She replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn't change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes."
She continued, "The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything… so the important thing is…
Remember to put the glass down”.
With a Hug