I am currently reading Gretchen Ruben’s book ‘Better than Before’ about habits and changing our behaviours.
As I was sat reading with a cup of tea in an empty, quiet house (a habit I’m enforcing to help me empty my bucket whilst my children are in school so that I can help them with theirs when they come home) I read this:
And then this:
The chapter these two quotes come from is one about clarity. Instead of saying, “I feel stressed,” Ruben argues we should seek clarity and identify exactly what is bothering us. Only then can we find a solution.
Both quotes rang an alarm in my head.
I spend so many weekends at home with my family doing very little instead of heading out to explore the world around us because that’s what my sons often need. It’s been a blurred notion up until I read Gretchen’s words. I felt stressed about not making the most of our weekends, not getting out to special events I read about going on, not spending lots of time with extended family and friends. There is a notion in my head that we could and should be doing more with our time, that we’re wasting our time. I want us to have fun family adventures. But we’re a highly sensitive family and we need a lot of downtime at home too. Clarifying why I have felt a blurred sense of stress during those weekends at home will help me accept those ‘downtime’ weekends in the future. We’re not wasting time, we’re meeting our needs as a family.
The second quote illuminated something in my mind when I read it. Walking my three children home from school I often get irritated with them. I feel my bucket filling as we walk home – I start feeling stressed out by them. And why? Because they are all talking at me at the same time – trying to share their morning or afternoon in school with me. Many other people wouldn’t be bothered as much as I am by the chattering on three sides, but it does bother me. A lot. Thinking along the lines of ‘I feel flustered when all three boys are talking at the same time’ rather than ‘walking home from school with my sons stresses me out’ helps immensely! I can do something about the first statement, but not about the second.
Clarity. Identify why you feel the way you do. I think it helps no end when you’re a highly sensitive person to create a clear picture instead of living with a blurred feeling. It also helps pinpoint a possible solution or it helps with acceptance. Thank you Gretchen!
There are other great tips that have changed how I do things in ‘Better Than Before’ – like the Strategy of Scheduling and the Strategy of Monitoring! You can get your copy from Amazon UK or Amazon.com. I also highly recommend Rubin’s The Happiness Project (Here’s the US link).