Morning Thoughts with Alice, #20

I’ve reduced about 20% of the stress in my life by doing this one thing. Actually, maybe 15%. Maybe 25%. Who can say exactly how much stress this one thing has reduced in my life. But while I’m trying to get somewhere, I can say it has reduced nearly 100% of my driving stress. All by doing this one thing.

How many times have you been all up in knots trying to get somewhere? Let’s say you have to be somewhere in 10 minutes. In your estimate you are 15 minutes away. You knot up from your head to your toes, and all guts in between. OH MY GOSH I’M GOING TO BE LATE!

Now I know not all of you are of the Must Be On Time crowd. But I am. I was born that way. My son says as soon as he gets in his car he feels like he’s late. He was born that way, too. But all that changed for me, and for him, when we started doing this one thing.

Back to our scenario. You have to be somewhere in 10 minutes. You think it’s going to take 15 to get there. And then you do this one thing. And here’s the thing: Instead of going into panic mode you tell yourself out loud, “I am not late yet. In fact, if I were there right now I’d be early. I won’t get upset until I am actually late.” You are postponing stress. It’s awesome.

So many times I have arrived on time when I thought I was going to be late. Most of the time for the events I’m heading to it really doesn’t even matter if I show up 5 minutes late. And as for showing up early, I love the saying “The problem with being early is there’s no one there to appreciate it.” Am I right? Of course right.

And here’s what’s really amazing to me. If I am driving and have reached the point where I am “already late” I’m not as upset about it as I would be if I had been upset the 10 minutes leading up to the point of being late. Stress snowballs. Don’t make the snowball until you are already late. And not only am I not as stressed about being late as I normally would be, I almost get a little attitude, like “Oh, as if I don’t have to wait for you sometimes.”

In conclusion, I have found that postponing stress is a great tool. It also works for driving over scary bridges, but that post is for another day.

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