The stress of mind-drama caught me last week.
I’m supposed to be going to Kentucky for a live coaching training event next week and thanks to Omicron there are more logistical pieces and extra uncertainty, and I’m not even sure how I feel about getting on a plane for the first time in forever. My friend kindly said “that must be so stressful ” and I almost agreed until I realized that I’m not stressed about it at all. I’ve accepted the uncertainty and I’ve been focusing only on the decisions I can make. It’s amazing what a huge difference that makes.
I should know, I was recently in a situation where I did the complete opposite and I completely stressed myself out.
Last month I found out that I was required to get an ethernet connection in order to participate in an upcoming program. I panicked because I didn’t know where to start and I was worried that I would have to put up with ugly wires going through the loft. I tried to research it online but I didn’t know what I needed to know.
Cue the mind drama.
The ethernet problem felt huge because I didn’t know where to start, how complicated it would be, and also, tech problems frustrate me. I was being a drama queen because my mind was hijacked by the combination of uncertainty and the anticipation of negative emotions.
Breaking Patterns – Denial Never Works
I went into denial for a few days but when it came up again (seeming bigger, because things always do if you’ve been trying to suppress them) I coached myself immediately (occupational hazard).
I examined the objective circumstances:
- I was committed to figuring out how to get an ethernet connection to the office without ugly wires floating through the loft.
- I did not know how easy or hard it would be.
- I had a few months to figure it out.
- In the past, I would have gone back into denial until the last minute at which point the stress of not figuring it out would have forced me into action.
- I could make a different choice this time (or not).
Next, I examined the thoughts in the periphery of my mind, the ones in the back that were making me feel stressed out:
- I might have to have multiple people come to my place multiple times to check out the setup and to hook things up and it’s going to be hard to schedule.
- It will be confusing to look into this because I don’t even know the names of the parts, the wires involved in this, or what plugs into what.
- It could be expensive.
- I don’t want ugly wires going from the living room into my office.
- I hate dealing with this stuff and I don’t want to.
- It’s going to take a lot of time and I don’t have the time for this.
- It’s going to be tiring.
- If this can’t be done properly I will not be able to participate in the program the way I intended and that will be the end of the world. (periphery thoughts aren’t always logical, but they “feel” true).
The (Probable) Thoughts of Someone Not Stressed
All of this over an ethernet connection. I then asked myself what I might be thinking if I wasn’t being a drama queen, and the answer was clear:
- This is an unexpected annoyance.
- What can I do to just get this done?
Once I saw those sentences it felt like a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders because I wanted to jump into action. I just had to be willing to muddle through the confusion and deal with whatever issues came up as needed.
The Benefits of Finding Ease
Within 35 minutes I had it all figured out, including an order for a VERY long ethernet wire
I won’t bore you with all of the details, but I decided to start with my internet service provider and I confidently led by telling them that I knew nothing about what I was going to be asking about so it might get confusing. And a few times, it definitely was.
In hindsight this is hilarious. I can’t believe that I made such a big deal about an ethernet connection. It’s fascinating how the little things can quickly trigger our inner drama queen (I’m convinced we all have one) if we aren’t paying close attention.
It’s equally fascinating how easy it is to start shifting out of the mind drama if we catch ourselves and we’re willing to examine our thoughts instead of avoiding discomfort.
If you keep stressing yourself out and you’ve developed some patterns that make your life harder, know that it can be easier. Anyone can learn how to manage their mind drama. Learning how to create intentional shifts takes some practice, but can save you from so much needless suffering.
When you don’t spend time worrying about the things that you can’t control you have so much more energy to devote to what matters to you the most. If that’s what you want, don’t waste any more time.
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