So, it’s 110 today here in Southern Utah and our air conditioning is out. Yep, completely gone. Finished. We have been trying to stick it out (fans, portable system, wet wash cloths), but today the repair man told us it would be another four days before they could fix it. My first thought was “No way, I can’t do this. I can’t handle this on top of everything else going on, I have so much work to get done,” and on and on and on. Until, in the middle of complaining about it all, I took a step back and remembered one of the things I have been really stressing with my burnt-out, stressed to the max clients lately; which is to reframe stressful events in a way that sees what is, not what we fear is.
So what do I mean by this? Well, in that moment when I heard the AC guy tell me that we’d have to wait four more days, on top of the fact that it had already been three, my first instinct was to panic. Honestly, I don’t think anyone would blame me if I did either. Our house has been hovering around 90 degrees during the day, only cooling off for a few hours in the early mornings. I have three very large, very hairy, very tired pups to think about and an Instagram account that depends largely around my ability to cook pretty meals. Well, in 90-degree weather, there will be no cooking. So, naturally, it seemed like an appropriate time to feel a little down. But here’s the thing, the only reason I was feeling so badly was because, in that moment, my expectations and my reality weren’t in alignment and it was causing me stress.
When I first learned about this technique for reframing, it literally blew my mind. If the only reason I was ever stressed was because I had a discrepancy between my thoughts and reality, that meant that technically speaking, (I say technically because it’s not always easy), I would never have to succumb to emotional stress again. So let’s see what this looks like in real life…
Back to the AC. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely started off the situation with my fair share of negative thoughts. I’m sure you get the idea. But somehow, that little voice that tends to whisper really quietly, was able to make itself heard today which allowed me to take a step back for a moment and think my way through it. So here are some of the thoughts I tackled today:
1. I won’t be able to get anything done this week – turned into – This heat is in no way keeping me from accessing my computer, it will give me a chance to expand my Instagram into more personal posts, I can leave the house if I need to, and I was looking to take a bit of a break anyway after last week’s Detox launch.
2. I can’t take the heat any longer – turned into – So far, you’ve been fine. Uncomfortable, definitely, but safe. You know how to take care of yourself in the heat as well as the pups. You also have a place you can rent out for the week if things get too bad. This is simply uncomfortable.
3. This shouldn’t be happening! – turned into – right now, this is happening. I have done everything I can do to remedy the situation, now the only thing left to do is get back to living and come Friday, it probably won’t seem so bad.
4. My whole week is ruined! – turned into – what sort of things could you do instead of what you had planned this week? Your week can’t possibly be ruined, because it hasn’t even happened yet. Today, I am safe, in front of a fan, healthy, and working in front of my computer like I always do. The only thing that is ruined about my week is my expectation that the air conditioning will always be working.
Now, upon reading this, it might seem a bit of an intellectual approach to stress. I get that. But, surprisingly, with every statement, I could feel myself relaxing and growing calmer about the reality of the situation. In reality, at this moment in time, the air shouldn’t be working because it has a giant leak in refrigerant and we can’t get the parts in until Friday. Accepting that, I can move forward into how to deal with what IS instead of worrying about what SHOULD BE.
It may seem a little bit remedial at first, but as you grow more comfortable with it, it truly can change your outlook and approach to situations that typically upset you. Next time you’re feeling some mental or emotional stress, ask yourself “how can I reframe this so that my expectations match my reality?” See what changes for you and feel free to let me know in the comments or over on my Instagram account.