Recently, I chose not to sweat the small stuff and practice the art of being grateful – but not in the way you would expect.

On the eve of Good Friday, my desktop computer went ppffftt – the power supply died and while I managed to send it by ambulance to Dr Gerry, chief surgeon and repairer of all things technological before close of business, he was unable to repair it without a part… which comes from over east… and it’s a four day weekend… and my life is ruined.

Shit! Bugger! Bum!

We work from home, even on weekends. Five days without my trusty desktop is like a month without coffee. It’s the only reliable connection to the internet as it’s wired in. There was every possibility I may die, the pain of loss was so great.

Deep breath.

Calm.

I have my Macbook, it will be alright… but I LOVE my desktop PC… it’s like my favourite pair of slippers… reliable, functional, familiar and there.

It’s always where it’s supposed to be. I don’t have to remember where I’ve put it and it rarely gets turned off so it just waits patiently for me to sit and work/play/surf/create.

And now it’s gone, sob!

And Jess, my assistant, comes on Tuesday… how will we cope?!

Now, in the scheme of things, this is a very minor blip on the catastrophe scale, but it is representative of how easily we can be derailed when we are tired, busy, stressed, worried or anxious. We are not using the logical, reasoning part of our brain. Instead we are working from our primitive brain – the part devoted to keeping us safe by prompting fight, flight or freeze. Our lymbic system is activated, causing us to ‘feel’ rather than ‘think’. Any capacity for problem solving or creative thinking is severely diminished.

Most flourishing adults have a number of automatic responses for coping with setbacks – taking time to regroup, taking a break and returning, engaging in positive self-talk, debriefing with a friend or colleague, reframing or brainstorming solutions.

Easy, right?

Well yeah, except that studies show that less than 40% of us are flourishing at any particular time – feeling good and doing well. Most of us are languishing – not feeling so good (tired, worried, anxious, busy) and not doing so well (overwhelmed, disorganised, reactive). So when we are calm, we know how to respond to a challenge – bye bye desktop – but when we are not, we are reactive.

So how can we ensure that we are more logical, thoughtful and responsive, and less reactive?

By deliberately practicing strategies shown to reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed and restore balance.

Here is what I did…

  • I took a break and closed the office door on Good Friday.
  • Took myself off to a float tank and did nothing for one whole hour.
  • I meditated, both in the float tank and several times over the weekend.
  • I deliberately chose my favourite activities – gardening, lunch in the sunshine, exploring the neighbourhood, walking the dog.
  • Practiced noticing – the kookaburras at the park, the breeze on my face, the taste of my wine, and so it went on until I was overwhelmed by beauty!

Lastly, I remembered to be grateful for…

  • my laptop and iPhone.
  • for all of my business processes that are now cloud-based and accessible from anywhere and any device.
  • for the permission to take a break from the business.
  • the opportunities and possibilities that arise from stepping back, taking a break and returning with new eyes and a new perspective.