You can have it all but you will be exhausted!

There are so many books on how to get what you want as soon as you can without much effort. You simply “put it out there”, wherever there is, and voila it is manifested. Techniques include writing down your affirmation, imagining yourself doing it, and sharing it with those close to you. The later could be problematic because they will probably ask you if you did “it” until you want to avoid them at all costs.You also become at the mercy of those individuals who are hell bent to never address the possibility that you may not have the where with all to accomplish your affirmation, or a plan to execute it. Their primary goal is to endlessly cheer you on which leaves you feeling guilty and having a strong desire to throw them off a cliff.

Lately a few researchers in the field of Positive Psychology have begun to question the merits of thinking positive without a good dose of reality. After all I can write,” I am tall and thin” all I want, but I am short and somewhat pudgy and unless I put myself on a rack and reduce my calories it is unlikely to happen.

What seems to have lost traction is the idea that attaining a goal takes time and patience and the ability to assess ones strengths and weaknesses. The ability to tolerate frustration is also part of the process. Unfortunately “ the art of waiting has become less and less available in a society that loves instant gratification.

“ In the late sixties and early 1970s a psychologist Walter Mischel, then a professor at Stanford University, created a series of studies on delayed gratification. Children were offered one small reward provided immediately or two small rewards if they waited for about 15 minutes, during which the tester left the room and then returned. The reward was  sometimes a marshmallow, but often a cookie or a pretzel. In follow-up studies, the researchers found that children who were able to wait longer for the preferred rewards tended to have better life outcomes, as measured by SAT scores, educational attainment, body mass index (BMI), and life measures.”

Once again, I feel that the research simply defines what is obvious. If we can learn to enjoy the process of reaching our goals, our ability to be patient and our anxiety levels are reduced. So much of our culture is predicated on going from one task to another in a mindless fashion. Stress is at an all time high since the motto, “You can have it all” became part of our cultural dialogue. Having it all is exhausting! The ability to savor each step of our journey toward a goal is as important as attaining it and it is certainly less frantic.

 

Go for a “News Fast” every once in a while to help reduce your stress levels.

We are all familiar with NBS, CBS or ABC, but I really think they should change the call letters to NFS, never feel safe. Why not? Isn’t that the real intent of the media to make us all feel that at any minute of any day something awful is going to happen. After all how else do you get someones attention, especially in these times, since most people can’t spend more than a few minutes on any one thing. I was watching the news the other night and the meteorologist came on and started to gush over how lucky we have been, but, don’t get too complacent because a cold front was coming in and we could be in for some unreliable weather patterns. I love some of the descriptions they use. What is a cold front? How about it’s going to get cold in the next few days. Why the drama? Am I supposed to get out my sled dogs and fur parka? Then the news anchor came on and reported that the job market is increasing. But don’t get too excited, since his very next sentence was that gas prices are going up. So, I guess that means you might get a job put you won’t be able to afford getting there. Next he shared that real estate sales were up, BUT, foreclosures were up too.  Encouraging to say the least. By this time I was starting to twitch, but he wasn’t done. There has to be a segment on health, but it’s never about how many people might be healthy. Oh no, we need to know that sixty three percent of the population is obese and that the morbidity rate will be higher in the younger generations. Now we go to commercial and see one for a soft drink that has at least twenty teaspoons of sugar in it. Followed by a cholesterol medication that has enough side effects to kill you, but not to worry they’re only secondary effects. They might do some damage like loss of hearing or blindness but hey your cholesterol went down.  Okay, I’m not quite suicidal so let’s finish the segment with some global news, filled with murder and mayhem. The last three minutes have a report on someone or something that actually elevates the human condition. But, let’s face it, if you want a good night’s sleep don’t watch the news just before you retire for the night. In fact take a “news fast” every once in a while it will definitely reduce your stress levels.