You may have carefully set up an agenda, taking account of the critical path you need to follow in order to reach your goal, when something or someone comes along to derail your careful plan.
Someone was visiting my home recently and noticed that my bathroom faucet was dripping. It actually has been dripping for quite some while as I have dealt with serious structural issues and technological issues in my office. It annoys me and I know it is wasting water, but it is lower on my priority list at this time. One of the things that I have learned to do over my many years of handling stress is to put on blinders and ignore things that are keeping me from my current most important goal. So I was steadfastly ignoring the dripping faucet when someone asked me sweetly, “Are you aware your bathroom faucet is dripping?” Yes, as a matter of fact I was very aware that it was dripping because you can hear it outside the bathroom by now. And I was steadfastly ignoring it.
The other really important thing I have learned is that I can self regulate my emotions enough to stay serene, knowing that I will reach all of these goals eventually, and the consequences of not doing so immediately are not so great.
Is not easy to continue to be serene when so many demands are assaulting us from all sides at the same time. This is happening more and more in modern life: the ease of communication means that more people can get in touch with us with their suggestions or demands and they can do so quickly. There’s also the “convenience” of having the Internet at your fingertips to find people who will help you with your solutions. Therefore it should be easy, right?
I have learned to put on blinders and continue on my serene path. It is taken me many years to do so. One of the things I used to tell my clients was that, when you are attempting to master stress, there will always be people around you who want to sweep you into that tidal wave. Is it that people who suffer from an excessive sense of urgency want company in their misery? I don’t know, but I have devised a few simple questions to be asked of someone who is trying to drag me into the Whirlpool of their urgent emotions:
- Do you believe I am not able to handle this challenge appropriately?
- Do you believe I am not motivated to solve this problem?
- Do you feel you are helping me by pointing out the things that need to be done?
- Do you feel I do not have a priority list or that my priority list is not thoughtful?
Many people are living their lives currently in a state of urgency. Note that urgency or impatience is a great stepping stone to more and more depleting emotions, such as frustration, anger, depression, and more. They suck the energy right out of us. They drain our ability to think creatively and to solve problems quickly.
When you ask these questions, try to keep your tone as relaxed as you can. Cultivate an attitude of mild curiosity. If you sound impatient or annoyed, recognize you bought into this person’s sense of urgency. Instead, stay focused on your goals and tell the other person calmly you have a plan you are following to reach the goal and you believe it is the best one in terms of time and outcome.
Then convince yourself to believe it.
To put on blinders and stick to our agenda is to focus on present time.
If you have carefully thought out your agenda it should be easy to do.
If you have not developed a critical path – a step by step plan by which you determine which step is absolutely necessary before you move to the next step – then this is a good time to stop and do it.
Your body will thank you as you decrease the number of depleting emotions you experience and increase your ability to solve challenges and overcome problems.
If you have any urgency hijackers in your environment, deal with them as above and feel compassion for them. They’re undermining their health and happiness by turning on the chemicals of stress which turn down the immune system, turn on aging processors and lead quickly to an unhappy psychological and physical life.
If you want to learn how to stay stress-free in an environment where everything and everyone seems to be pushing you in the direction of turmoil, consider joining one of my programs in which you can learn the latest in the exciting and powerful tools that HeartMath™ has developed to help you lead a satisfying and fulfilled life even in the midst of our chaotic society.
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Lynette Crane, M.A., is a speaker, coach, trainer, and author with over forty years experience in the fields of stress management and human growth potential, especially for “quietly brilliant” people, aka introverts. She currently specializes in resilience training and heart-brain connections and is a certified HeartMath™ trainer and coach/mentor.