Stress Management: Holding On Vs. Dropping It

One of the dumbest things I have ever done is grab a hot iron by the bottom.

We were rushing out of the house for a trip a few years back. The last time I had used it was hours ago that morning, and had left it on the ironing bourd in the bed room. I didn't know Lauren had used it just a moment before.

I've never dropped anything so fast before or since!

Most of you are probably a whole lot smarter than me and have never picked up a hot iron. At the same time, I bet everyone has had the experience of picking up something hot, getting burned, and dropping it right away.

Would it make any sense to keep holding something hot like that? Of course not.

That's why we drop them so quickly.

Then why do we hold on so tightly to hot emotional issues and allow them to keep burning us?

Yet we do it all the time. Something inconvenient, bad, or even traumatic occurs, and we hold on to it for dear life. I've worked with people who had experienced trauma and were doing fairly well not too long after. I've also worked with people who had experienced trauma years and years ago, yet it seemed as if it had just happened.

How to Hold On

Holding on to something that is burning us requires a lot of conscious attention, just like flunking gym class in school. Here's a few "tips" for holding on:

*Play the situation or offense over and over in your mind. Be sure to make a little "mental movie" for your own viewing pleasure.

*Make sure it's the first thing you think of in the morning and the last thing you think of at night.

*Tell everyone who will give you an ear the whole entire story, in play by play detail.

*Make it the defining moment in your life.

*Isolate yourself from other people

*Rant and rave about the injustice and unfairness of it all.

*Look at yourself as a victim.

How to Drop It

Just as holding on to something requires conscious attention, dropping something requires a conscious decision. Here's a few tips for dropping it:

*as stated above, decide to. You must decide to do it before any ot the other tips will work.

*take away from it what you can learn, leave behind anything else.

*find a symbol of the event and burn it, bury it, or both. I know this might sound a little silly, but it works.

*remember the saying "Success comes from good judgement. Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement."

*and perhaps the most important: make a place for it in your life, because it did happen. And then put it in it's place, which is behind you.

Hold on and get burned or drop it and move on. It's a choice.

And it's yours to make.

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