Playing the 'Distressed' Card.

Monday September 30, 2013

Here's the third in the series of excellent blogs by Lex covering the adjectives on the 20 Moodscope cards. Please don't forget we'd love you to add any ideas, tips, insights or advice you may have that you'd like to share with other Moodscope members that might be of help. Please add them to the comments at the end of this post. Many thanks. Caroline.

Today, it's the turn of the 'Distressed' card, which Moodscope defines as, 'feeling extremely anxious.' This is a state of psychological tension that requires some immediate release. Given that we can mercifully only seem to focus on one emotional state at a time, I suggest the following productive distraction technique.

The Time Management Guru, David Allen, talks about 'open loops' – the distress and anxiety that comes from knowing there are things left undone. This is good news because we can instantly make a difference to our overall distress levels. You may be facing a challenge that you can do nothing about, however, there are other small challenges that you can do something about today, and thereby lessen the burden of anxiety.

Pick some easy wins – some simple tasks that you could complete and tick off your 'to-do' list. Physical to-dos work best. Getting these simple tasks done will create two immediate benefits. Firstly, you'll distract your conscious attention, giving yourself a break. Secondly, you'll lessen the overall load of pressure you are carrying.

I remember hearing about a cargo lorry that could not get to its destination because of a low bridge. Frustratingly for the driver, the lorry was only centimetres too tall but the barrier of the bridge was immovable. Suddenly, someone helping had the idea of letting the pressure out of the tyres – just enough to get the lorry under the bridge. This slight relief of pressure led to success that day.

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