10 reasons why it's not a problem
Last week my laptop broke. It was the weirdest thing, the fan was running constantly but no lights, just an empty black screen of death.
I didn’t drop it or spill something on it. It’s not that old. I googled solutions and tried all the things.
It still didn’t work, the fan kept going and the screen stayed solidly OFF.
Google suggested getting a new power cord but that didn’t make any sense since the fan was running and that wasn’t going to happen at 8pm.
Needless to say I was not amused.
I got home from work on Tuesday, ready to get my blog done early because I had taken off on Wednesday for my daughter’s spring break and was going to be traveling to Dallas for a work training on Friday morning.
I did not have the time or energy for my computer to not work.
As is typical, I mentally jumped right to the tragic end of the story. You know, the part where instead of spending the day with my daughter I have to spend all day getting a new computer, and I can only find a really expensive one and then they don’t have it in stock and for the first time in 2 years I will miss my Friday blog post, all while being sleep deprived because now I have to stay up late packing for my work trip and trying to find clothes to wear.
Of course, this is a dramatic (albeit accurate) representation of the story I instantly told myself but we all do it. Something goes wrong and we immediately get a pit in our stomachs and our hearts start racing. Our bodies react reflexively and the crazy story telling begins.
All of a sudden, everything is overwhelming and we say things like “this is going to put me over the edge.” We decide that it’s a huge problem without any actual evidence.
If you delve into this a little bit, this is actually a protective mechanism of our brains. The primitive brain was recently described to me as the risk management department of our brains. Its primary job is to point out any possible threat to our safety, to point out all the things that can go wrong. The good news is, for most of us, this is overkill in our current economic, health, and safety situations. We aren’t in imminent danger of death or destruction (especially from a laptop).
Thankfully, I am well aware of my reflexive craziness so I had a strategy that I put to the test and it worked beautifully.
It’s the “10 reasons it’s not a problem” strategy.
Picture a drill sergeant yelling “drop and give me 10!” That’s metaphorically what I did (don’t worry, no push-ups are required)
I stopped in the middle of what I was doing and decided to come up with 10 reasons why it wasn't a problem that my laptop didn’t work (for real, picture included from my actual notebook).
Here’s what I came up with.
Amazon prime will have a power cord here tomorrow (fingers crossed)
I am off of work tomorrow and don’t have to run my patient support group online.
My husband has a computer I can use.
I can buy a new one if I have to.
All of my important documents/presentations are on google.
In a pinch, I can use my phone.
I have no deadlines tonight.
I can ask Mike (my brother in law) for help.
Nothing I need the computer for can’t wait.
Because I’ve decided it’s not a problem.
Instead of hanging out with risk management, I decided to be the CEO of my brain. I decided to brainstorm for solutions.
We do this all the time for our patients or our friends. We see someone in crisis and we go into creative problem solving mode, helping them see other options that they can’t necessarily see themselves, trying new approaches to overcome obstacles. But when it comes to ourselves, the risk management part of the brain is so loud that it doesn’t even occur to us that there is an opportunity to brainstorm. We tune out the CEO because the primitive brain is making us afraid.
Good news. It’s not a problem that we do this, that we default to the magnified negative story. You know how I know? When I started feeling like I should know better than to keep falling into drama I started another list.
10 reasons why it’s not a problem that we always jump to the worst case scenario.
It’s just a normal function of my primitive brain, nothing is wrong with me.
It’s easy to counteract.
Awareness is the first step and I am already working on that.
The Reticular Activating System will help me figure this out if I ask myself solution based questions.
It just feels like something terrible has happened, nothing has actually happened.
Creativity can be used in any direction (ie: for a good story as well as a tragic one).
Brainstorming solutions is fun.
Nothing bad has actually resulted from this issue yet.
It is just mind drama.
It gives me a topic for my next blog :)
Sure, there are things that are actually problems in our lives, maybe finances or health issues, staffing ratios or relationships. This approach doesn’t negate those things but it does shift us back into the position of control, the position of brainstorming how we can be ok in ANY situation. It evens out the playing field.
So the next time you find yourself saying something like
“I can’t do this.” or
“This has totally sabotaged my progress” or
“I can’t believe this happened”,
Stop and give me 10, 10 reasons why it’s not a problem.
P.S. The new power cord worked- who knew?
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