Imagine you are a giraffe. You have a 2 metre neck, and sometimes you notice a group of humans taking photos of you. When you are hungry, you walk over to a tree. When it rains, you find shelter. If you see a lion coming, you and your friends hide.
Life is simple.
Humans aren’t like that. We stress over things that will happen far in advance. Can we afford that house? Why can’t I lose weight? Will my kids get the scores they need for uni? There is no wonder we stress more about these things when we are constantly trained to be stimulated by what’s new, changing – or more importantly what everyone else seems to be doing! Life is hard. We make it hard by worrying about the future and dwelling on it.
Break it up.
If you want to afford that house, don’t get that coffee today. Make a healthy dinner tonight to help you lose weight. Help your kids create goals, real, attainable goals. Shift your worry from a long term view, to a daily habit you action right away – getting immediate satisfaction that we’ve been trained to want (colours, noises and happy feelings)
Researchers have called this a Delayed Return Environment, where most choices you make now will not benefit you immediately (e.g. work well today, but get your pay cheque in a few weeks). The issue is that this leads to chronic stress and anxiety.
One of my biggest points that I stress with a lot of clients: focus on the system, not the goal.