The Power of Distraction

In our last exciting episode we learned what stress is and why it can cause trouble.  In the next few posts we will talk about ways to deal with stress.

So what can you do about it?  Unless you are prepared to move to a desert island or a monastery you will not be able to eliminate the major causes of stress in modern life – but you can minimize the effects.

The first thing to understand is that you do have control over how you react to stuff.  For example, when you are standing on a platform that feels hot enough to be in one of the lower circles of hell you can get angry about it.  You can fume and mutter to yourself.  You can fan yourself aggressively, generating more heat than you are dissipating OR you can accept that it is hot but that it will not be hot forever.  A train will come and you will get on it and get where you are going.

I know, that is easier said than done.  But it can be done, it just takes a little practice.  You do not have to get upset at every obstacle you encounter.  Getting upset will not make the train come faster, it really won’t.  And while staying calm may not make the train come faster either you will spend the time far more pleasantly, you really will.

If you cannot simply let things go (and believe me, I understand that) then distract yourself.  Bring something to read or something to listen to when you know you might have to wait.  Make up stories about your fellow waiters.  Plan your meals for the week in your head.

My point here is that you can choose to stay calm in difficult situations.   This will reduce your stress and may even result in clearer thinking.  You may not be able to do it every time, but it will get easier with practice.


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