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Frogs and stress management
11/18/2006 - Hilary Drummond and Anita Bakker, Southern Exposure Weekend

How much stress are you managing in your life right now?


You may have heard of the boiled frog parable…

 

Imagine a frog inadvertently jumping into a large container of boiling water and leaping out immediately to save his life!  Of course he would!  His sense of preservation keeps him agile and quick in life and death situations. 

Now imagine that same frog in a container of refreshingly cool water, paddling around energetically. The container is on a heat source and the temperature of the water is being gradually increased.  The frog slows with fatigue, but continues to paddle with less energy until he succumbs to that increased heat and an eventual untimely death.


This parable reminds us that we are hard-wired to respond to immediate threats to our survival and that a gradual change can be insidious and dangerous, sapping our energy and draining our reserves. 

 

A client of mine was shocked when he realized that he had become “addicted to stress”.  He realized that he was actually creating crisis in his life so that he could be the “knight in shining armour” and show up as the “hero” as he unraveled each crisis.  It provided a wonderful excuse for limiting behaviours and less time and attention for family and friends, yet he was suffering from “the boiled frog” syndrome. He was losing energy fast, and forgot what it felt like to be happy and fulfilled. He was able to break out of his habit of stress, and although it was a difficult process, he is now reaping the rewards of a far more satisfying life.

 

How hot is the water you are swimming in?  What’s the temperature of your life?  Don’t let the heat sap you of life giving energy.

 

  • Create a list of the things in your life that you are just putting up with.  (These can be particular situations, other people or things you don’t like about yourself.) 
  • What are the benefits of living without these annoyances? 
  • Commit to making a change.  (It might be as concrete as fixing a computer problem, as specific as losing that extra twenty pounds or as ambiguous as addressing a challenging relationship.) 
  • Make a plan and do it!
  • Hold yourself accountable by sharing your decision and your plan with a trusted friend…or e-mail us to commit to your plan.
  • Celebrate your success!

 

Enjoy the refreshingly cool temperature of your life!

 

What one thing will you change this week to decrease your stress level?

 



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