Mon 29 Mar 2010
(c) March 29, 2010
A couple weeks ago, I started running.
It’s actually going relatively well so far. (And no one is nearly as surprised by this as me, it seems.)
But this past Saturday morning, I jumped on the treadmill to follow the day’s plan. About three minutes in, I thought to myself, “This is kind of hard today.” At five minutes in, I thought, “I shouldn’t have eaten that nutritionally devoid scone for breakfast.” At seven minutes in, I thought, “I might not be able to do this today.” But, I told myself to “Cut it out” and when a good song popped up on my iPod, I was able to stop thinking about how miserable I was and instead continued on for another 20 minutes until my time was up.
A similar thing happens to our dog—not with running, but with barking. When our dog gets overly excited, he starts barking. We’ve discovered that the best way to get him to stop is to calmly distract him with a fascinating treat or toy. My husband says it’s almost like the dog’s brain needs to be redirected from the scary/exciting/threatening thing to something calming and enjoyable.
When it comes to life—and all its transitions, stressors, questions and opportunities—sometimes getting over the hump really is as simple as “redirecting” our thinking. Lucinda Bassett, a longtime sufferer of anxiety and now an expert in the field of anxiety, advises clients whose minds are reeling to picture a stop sign, and to go so far as to say to themselves, “STOP!” The technique is designed to get your attention, so you can redirect your thinking to something more positive.
A few years ago, a friend of mine was let go from a job that, quite frankly, he’d long outgrown. He called me after it happened, and understandably he was feeling a little shocked and disappointed. I remember telling him at the time that it was clear to me that he needed to “move on” from there—and that his termination, no matter how painful, was a necessary signal to grab his attention and essentially force him to “move on.” It wasn’t long before he found his dream job.
Whether a great song on your iPod, a doggie treat, a stop sign or a difficult conversation at the office, what in your life is trying to get your attention today, to help you stop dwelling on the “old” and instead move you in a new direction?
And, when it does, how will you answer the call?