Dealing with Distress

Playing the “Distressed” Card (see  I am a massive fan of Moodscope – a rapid daily discipline that allows you to track the 20 facets of mindset that can make or break your day.  There are 20 cards that help you assess your state each day.  10 have positive aspects, 10 track negative factors.

I wanted to do a series that embraced all 20 cards.  Today, it’s the turn of the “Distressed” card, which Moodscope defines as, “feeling extremely anxious.”  This is a state of psychological tension that requires some immediate release.  Given that we can mercifully only seem to focus on one emotional state at a time, I suggest the following productive distraction technique if you are feeling distressed today.

The Time Management Guru, David Allen, talks about “open loops” – the distress and anxiety that comes from knowing there are things left undone.  This is surprisingly good news because we can instantly make a difference to our overall distress levels.  You may be facing a challenge that you can do nothing about, however, there are other small challenges that you can do something about today, and thereby lessen the burden of anxiety.

Pick some easy wins – some simple tasks that you could complete and tick off your “to-do” list.  Physical to-dos work best.  Getting these simple tasks done will create two immediate benefits.  Firstly, you’ll distract your conscious attention, giving yourself a break.  Secondly, you’ll lessen the overall load of pressure you are carrying.

I remember hearing about a cargo lorry that could not get to its destination because of a low bridge.  Frustratingly for the driver, the lorry was only centimetres too tall but the barrier of the bridge was immovable.  Suddenly, someone helping had the idea of letting the pressure out of the tyres – just enough to get the lorry under the bridge.  This slight relief of pressure led to success that day.

Let go of just a little bit of pressure and move forwards today.


One thought on “Dealing with Distress

  1. This is so relevant. We hear about pressure a lot these days as clients talk about their lives. This gives us another way of interacting with them. Thanks for the tip. It’s great for us too, when we have lots to do to. One physical thing at a time.

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