One Step at a Time
Posted on 24th February 2021 at 18:44
I find that I often talk with clients about looking out for ‘pitfalls’ - the sort of typical things and situations that commonly grab our attention and cause us to fall headlong into the rabbit hole of awkward and uncomfortable emotions. You might know the ones – anxiety, anger and disgust.
I try to spot them in myself. There are some that now make me smile at myself and that I know will always catch me out but at least I am on to them. Even if I fall down that rabbit hole and only realise afterwards. Some, though, I catch sooner, and I can work on cajoling myself round that I really do not need to get caught up in this.
In this last year, I think that I have found new ones to go on my list of many.
But let me highlight some of my ‘classics’ – driving (see my previous blog); getting home from a long day with an array of bags hooked on to a couple of small fingers whilst trying to lift one wobbly hand to the door to unlock it and then dropping the keys on the floor. I dare not count the number of times I have fallen down this hole – swearing and spluttering with rage at not doing it the first time round. Thinking that it will ‘only take a minute to carry out what is surely a straightforward task’ (changing the cord to the bathroom light; screwing in a hook on the back of a door; pumping up the tyres on my bike (seriously); quickly hanging up the ‘smalls’ wash).
They can get much bigger – ones that trigger my sense of injustice. Not an uncommon one, I believe for people to get caught up in but not for this blog. Let’s keep it small.
Some new thoughts and emotions have come to the fore in the last year due to the pandemic. For instance, I have never for one moment been bothered by joggers running by huffing and puffing and breathing out hot, wet, sweaty breath. Until now. Annoyance and disgust abound with thoughts of ‘how dare they?!! Do they not consider others?! What if they’ve got Coronavirus?!’ If I’m not careful I can spend quite some time and effort fuming about joggers.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy often involves learning how to identify and manage our ‘rabbit hole’ thinking and highly charged emotions. One of the best ways to manage both is to start by take a few steadying breaths to help us slow things down and take a step back. The act of doing so enables us to think a little more clearly and reduces the intensity of highly charged emotion.
When I do this with the joggers, I can reframe the situation and celebrate seeing people being fit; letting off steam and getting out. I can remember that I am not alone in my frustration. I am part of humanity which means we judge, make assumptions, and think so quickly that our bodies will respond without us asking them to. When I remember this I can smile, forgive myself and those pesky joggers and carry on with my walk.
If you are struggling with pitfalls and difficult emotions, then contact us to see how therapy might help.
One final thing – fed up with just walking – I have bought myself some running trainers. Let’s see what life is like on the other side….. 😊
Tagged as: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
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