In this post, I will talk about "How I cope with some issues and problems I encounter (as a matter of fact, all of us encounter daily) in my life", such as: being anxious, too lazy to do anything, too busy to do everything; how to cope with concentration problems, with solving of problems. It will be based on my personal experience.
Let's begin with anxiety, which is the cause of most of these problems.
According to the dictionary, anxiety is a state of uneasiness or tension caused by apprehension of possible future misfortune, danger, etc.; worry.
It can be caused by little things such as: "I don't know where I put my keys", someone has been impolite towards us, and by more difficult problems, such as "My wife left the house and wants the divorce", "I was diagnosticated as being seriously ill", etc.
Anxiety put us in bad mood with sometimes physical symptoms such as heart palpitations. So, aside from solving the problem, we want to get rid of the anxiety.
Let's note that anxiety is not a bad thing in itself. It has its role, which is to warn you of a danger. However, we have to learn to master it, and to prevent it to make us doing stupid things. Imagine yourself, we were not immediately afraid when a bear attacks us. It would be catastrophic.
In my opinion, there are bad "solutions" and good solutions to anxiety. Let's begin with the bad "solutions". First, of course, is to become nervous and to have an inappropriate behavior (for example, to get angry, because someone has told us something unpleasant): it doesn't solve the problem, it can even worsen it and causes new problems. Second is the solutions aiming only at calming down our pain, due to the anxiety. Among these are taking anxiolytics medicines, smoking, drinking or taking drugs. Again, they don't solve the problem, which cause the anxiety, and have side effects. All this is well known, but people, including very intelligent ones use these "solutions".
So, the only solution is to cope with the problem and solve it. How do we do that?
The first tip I can give is asking yourself this question: "What will happen to me in the worse of the cases?". In 99% of the cases, we will come to the conclusion that what will happen to us is not something we cannot live with. Knowing that will calm down our anxiety almost immediately, and put us in an adequate mindset to deal effectively with the problem. For example, if I think I have lost my keys, I shall think: "In the worst of the cases, I'll call my sister, who has a duplicate, or call a locksmith.
This "magic" question can help us to cope with any case of anxiety. I'll give you an extreme example, so extreme that it is even funny.
I was driving in a highway, and I was very tired. Suddenly, my eyes closed and I saw all in black. I could have an accident. I opened the eyes and continued driving. After a few minutes, the same scenario occurred again: I closed my eyes and opened them. The third time, it was catastrophic: when I opened my eyes again, I saw my car tumble down the side of the road, very fast. In front of me, I saw obstacles such as trees. I felt a great anxiety immediately. If I had not in mind the "magic" question, I would have panicked and have an accident. In a fragment of seconds, I had with myself the following dialog:
- What will happen to me in the worse of the cases?
- (The response was so obvious that it made me laugh) In the worst of the cases… I will die, of course!!! So, what about this: it should have happened one day or another!!!
After having calmed down myself by this thought, and got rid of my anxiety, I was able to think logically and efficiently about the problem: "Let's see if I am close to a tree? No! the closer tree is 10 meters from here. So, I'll slow down my car by little steps, driving around the obstacles until I stop. So, I did. My car was damaged of course but I was safe and sound.
Let's come over other issues:
Ø Being too lazy to do anything
Let's suppose, I have something to do but I stay resting on my chair, with negative thoughts, such as: "I will never be able to do that thing. I will do it badly, I will be tired, I will undergo the bad consequence of my failure".
As always, I'll give you an example: what I am presently doing, namely writing you a long letter!!! I was sitting in my chair, with the decision I took to write you a letter about a certain subject, but with the negative thoughts I've mentioned.
Here is the solution I found: First, I recognized that I was worried (= anxiety). Therefore, I asked me and answered to the "magic" question. Secondly, I gave positive answers to my negative thoughts. I asked myself a question, which I give you as a tip if you have to do something but you don't feel like doing it:
· If it is the first time you do it, tell yourself: Maybe I've neither succeeded to do that, but I have never failed either! Let's give it a try! The first time, I made meditation, I tried. I didn't like it. So, after the session I came to the conclusion that: "it is not for me and I'll not do this anymore". The conclusion might have been different: I love it, I am good/average/bad in that. In any case, the next time I'll have to do this, it will not be the first time, and I'll be able to come to a decision whether and when to do it, with an experience. By the way, it's another tip I can give you: Ask yourself what the past experience tells you about the resolution of the problem.
· If it's not the first time, ask yourself: "How do I cope with this task generally?". In the case of my letter, I feel anxious and uncomfortable when I have to write it. But I know by experience that if I just start it, I will feel well after it will be done. (As the proverb says: "it's only the first step that is difficult".) I have learned to work for no more than 45 minutes, and then rest for 10 minutes, and work again each time. I even set up my alarm each time I do this: That way, I don't feel bored or impatient when I do it because I make an effort, knowing that the saving alarm will ring. Let's return to my letter: I ask myself what the experience has showed me that I was able to do in 45 minutes and with which quality? (sometimes 10 lines, sometimes one page) In general, I like what I have done, and I know that I will feel satisfied of having done that. In the evening, I often ask myself: What have I done well today?
About the fear of being too tired after I did something, there is a huge difference between psychologic tiredness (the most common one) and physical one. If you do nothing, you will be even more tired! (psychologic tiredness). On the contrary, if we do something and are satisfied with your work, we will feel excited and almost not tired.
Ø Being too busy to do everything
You will not believe me, but it's almost the same problematic with the same answers! There are people who always said to themselves and to the other, that they will not have enough time to do something. They should replace this negative thought by positive ones:
- I will make something, which is better than nothing.
- Maybe, I want too much (I am perfectionist), I can organize myself better, gives up other things less important…
- There are people, who have to do much more things that I do; they are successful in making them and they never complain.
Ø How to cope with concentration problems?
I suffer from these problems. Examples:
· When I listen to a conversation, I frequently lose track.
· Same when I watch a movie of news in TV, and especially when I try to watch TV in English.
· Same when I listen to a lecture.
Recently, I found a start of a solution to this problem: to verbalize my thoughts, ask me questions and listen actively. What do I mean by that?
Let's take for example listening to the TV, when I watch to the news and don't understand what it's all about: again, to cope with this problem, there is a bad "solution", which is used by most of the people and a good one. The bad "solution" is to try to understand every word: while doing this, you get sleepy and don't get the general idea. The good solution is to think actively. Ask yourself: what is the subject? In CNN, read the subtitles which recall in one line the present subject. When you don't understand something, ask yourself: what didn't I understand? People, who criticize that approach may say: "I am losing time, if I occupy my mind by asking questions!" but it's not true: you turn from a dreamy, sleepy listener to an active one.
Ø How to cope with solving of problems?
I'll give you now an example, taken from working with my personal computer (but you can adapt it easily to doing any activity). This example integrates both the problem of to be too lazy to do something, and to cope with concentration problems.
Up to now, I was accustomed to use paper diaries. I have Outlook in my computer and I knew vaguely, that Outlook has a tool for managing the time, and much more effectively that with a paper diary, but I was telling myself: "This tool is to complicate for me! I don't want to waste time in learning it!". Let me be clear! I certainly don't say that being faithful to my traditional paper diary was a bad thing. It was just a habit among other habits. It's healthy and necessary to have habits. For instance, if you don't want to lose anything, take the habit to put the things at the same place; and if you want to master your schedule, take the habit to do things at a definite time. (For example, I take my laundry each Tuesday at 11:00). But habits, like opinions are made to be changed, when the circumstances have changed ("Only the idiots never change their mind!"). In my case my old paper diary was finished and I could not buy a new one because of the lockdown.
So, I decided to learn how to do that with Outlook, and immediately, a negative thought came up to my mind: I will not succeed in learning that, it's too complicate!
To solve a problem in software, there is again a bad "solution", used by unexperimented people and a good solution.
The bad "solution" is:
· To get nervous: to try something and if it doesn't work to swear ("Shit", "Damned", etc.)
· To try something again and again (expecting maybe that a miracle will occur and something we have just see it doesn't work will suddenly work)
· To work without a method
The good solution is:
· To calm down and keep cool.
· To have the positive attitude: "I know, as previous experiences have shown to me, that I will succeed."
1) To ask ourselves the "magic" question: what will happen in the worst case? Here, the answer was: "I will call my technician"
- To work methodically: Basically, there are two methods to search for information about PC software:
- To consult formal documents (The Help function in the case we are dealing with)
- To try to guess
I had no idea about how Outlook manages diaries. So, I began by looking at the help with some keywords related to the subject: date, appointment, diary, etc. The information I got is that all this concerns the "Calendar" (The name of what I called diary).
I didn't know where was the Calendar. So, I used the second method, which is: guessing. For that, I used my logic. For instance, I know that Microsoft software are extremely well designed, in a way anybody can find his way through it. There are recurrent names used in all the software, such as: File, Help, and so on. If I really don't know where a function is, I can test all the functions of a menu or a submenu. Quickly, I have mastered the Calendar subject.
The two methods to search for information exist not only for information about PC Computers software, but about any subject.
For example, when you learn a new language and you hear a word you didn't know. You can either:
1) Consult formal documents (The dictionary in the case we are dealing with)
2) To try to guess (According to the prefixes and the suffixes, we know if the word is a noun, a verb, an adverb or an adjective. We can also look for its etymology. When the word is part of a sentence, we can guess its meaning by referring to the meaning of the other words of the sentence.
I have observed the work of my technician, when he resolves a problem I have with a software. Basically, he uses the same techniques that I have described: keep cool, have the positive attitude, work methodically: as an example, he searches in the handbook, tries to guess the solution of the problem, refers to his past experience (his work with other customers). If all this doesn't work, he makes a little pause in order to summarize what he has seen and recapitulate: for example, he came the conclusion that one of the solutions he has tested might have been the right one, but with a minor change (Note that he don’t tries it again, as in the bad "solution"). And this time it worked!