Many of our memories are linked to emotional experiences. But what about situations that aren't charged with emotion – how do we remember them?
If you had trouble responding to this week's Action Card to name a situation where you feel neutral and in balance, read on for an alternative way to access this information.
1. Start with the Opposite
Most of us have a much easier time thinking of situations where we are not in balance. Here is one of my own examples...
Because I have food allergies, I sometimes feel anxious when ordering in a restaurant I haven't been to before – especially if I'm accompanied by someone who isn't yet familiar with my sensitivities.
- What if I can't eat anything on the menu?
- What if the person I'm with is embarrassed by my interrogation of the wait staff about ingredients?
- What if I have to send something back because the staff accidentally included the allergens on my plate?
2. Shift into Neutral
If I were to adjust the above situation so that it no longer caused me anxiety, here's how it would look:
- Take the person to a restaurant that I am familiar with, one that has proven to be mindful of food allergies, with a consistent menu so I know what's safe to order.
- Instead of going out for an entire meal, go out for coffee or tea instead.
- If I am already at the new restaurant, order a simple salad with no dressing or croutons, then go home afterwards to finish the rest of my meal.
When to Use this 2-Step Tool
This tool is particularly useful if I know I'm already close to my stress threshold... where any little thing might send me over the edge.
So if I'm aware that I'm feeling more vulnerable in general, I may opt for the familiar restaurant or coffee or salad option.
Otherwise, if I'm feeling fairly balanced overall, I may allow myself the more adventurous option of trying a new restaurant. And I will casually mention to my companion beforehand that I may take extra time ordering due to my food sensitivities.
Meanwhile, I now have easy access to a memory of what "neutral" feels like.
© 2015 Dr. Kristin Rose