Last week I was driving to work through glorious countryside, a golden sun rising across dewy hills. I stopped to take a sharp right turn up a steep hill and shifted into first gear, which crunched a bit. It was only when I tried to reverse to park that I realised my gears were stuck, completely stuck, in first.
But then help came; help parking, a lift home, help getting the car to the garage, help finding a rental, then a new car. Instead of the whole experience feeling stressful, I felt held, supported and cared for.
If I had focused on the incoming school buses, the other parents waiting, the torrential rain just I was trying to see if I could shift the gears, the extra, unwanted, unexpected expense, the time spent sorting out cars, I would have experienced the whole event very differently.
Both stories about the event could be ‘true’, but I decided where I was going to put my attention and that made all the difference.
Albert Ellis, father of cognitive psychology, says it isn’t what happens to us that makes us miserable, but what we think about it. Whilst I don’t think holds true things like grief and abuse, I do think, for things like this, it is. I think it is something I have learned to do and I think meditation helps me notice what I am thinking, which then allows me to change it.
- Notice how you are feeling. Use your body to give you information eg heart rate, breathing, tension
- This will help you notice what you are thinking. Take a few breaths and watch your thoughts
- Decide if the thoughts are helpful (eg, if they are telling you to get away from a dangerous situation – they are helpful!)
- If they are helpful, act on them
- If they are not helpful because they aren’t solving the problem or are causing you stress, then look around for something positive to focus on instead
- The positive could be in the outside world; other people, nature, weather, your warm coat, your phone, or it could be inside you; your health, your feet standing firmly on the ground
- The more you focus on either solving the problem or something positive, the calmer you will feel.
I’ve been practicing it a long time so when the car broke down, focusing on the positive just happened automatically and I’m glad it did.
We can’t always control what happens to us, but we can control what we focus on much more.
[Thank you Jon Lydon for the image]
If you enjoyed reading this please share it with friends. For free and low cost courses to help you in these uncertain times go to: https://julie-leoni-well-being-toolkit.teachable.com/. Or to make book a coaching chemistry call email: email@example.com . Or try some of my online courses (some are free).
Thanks for being here.