Monday, June 01, 2020

Keep a bloodhound hanging in the closet for emergencies

We live in a culture of cortisol. 

Everything is a manufactured emergency. 

When psychologists recently found that our stress level was at the highest it’s been in ten years, nobody should have been surprised. 

But contrary to popular conditioning, stress is not an achievement. It’s not a badge of honor, and it’s not something worth bragging about. 

Truth is, we need to get better at planning, not get better at emergencies. Only then will our collective lungs actually exhale. 

My old web developer, at the beginning of every project kickoff meeting, would always ask me the following question. 

What are the rules for what happens when this happens? 

Meaning, give us all the information that we need to assist you on the front end, and that will help us in prioritizing our reply and action when issues come up in the future. 

Forget about websites, that’s actually brilliant strategy for anxiety management. Each of us should ask ourselves. What are the rules for what happens when this happens? When we’re at work or at home or out in the world, and an avalanche starts coming at is that we think we’re incapable of dealing with, what’s the protocol? 

It’s like one of those insane ridiculous survival kits. You don’t necessarily need water pouches, emergency ponchos, survival whistles, fifty feet of nylon rope and three pairs of flame retardant safety goggles. But for a few hundred bucks, imagine how calm you would be in a disaster situation, knowing that you had a plan in place. You just grab the kit and start running until the sun comes up or the zombies fall asleep. 

Stress and anxiety work the same way. When we plan for events in advance, emergencies are less likely to knock us off course. 

For me, my first few panic attacks left me balled up in the corner, frozen, claustrophobic, confused and helpless. But once I finally understood the nature of panic, and put a plan in place to bypass the scrutiny of my dysfunction mind in the moment, the cortisol didn’t stand a chance. 

And so, think about how might be able to bring a higher function to your automatic responses. 

Decide what taking precautionary measures looks like for you. 

Sensitize and train yourself to assess and dispatch anything appropriately. 

Trust your intuitive choices about what you're doing. 

And soon enough, you will be build a strong practice, you won’t have to make any new choices. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What are the rules for what happens when this happens?