When we feel being off-balance and experience discomfort, we are also upset, either in small or significant ways.
But what does being upset mean? Oxford Dictionaries say that we are upset when we are “unhappy, disappointed, or worried.”
What causes our upsets? Here is a quote I found intriguing:
“Do all upsets come from fear? We don’t know for sure. However, based on the research, I suggest that this is the most useful way of looking at them.”
— Robert Maurer, Mastering Fear: Harnessing Emotion to Achieve Excellence in Work, Health and Relationships
Nowadays, when I am upset and recognize it, I try to stop, take a deep breath if necessary, and ask myself quietly what I am afraid of or what scares me off.
The first few times I tested Robert Maurer’s statement were utterly eye-opening because recognizing what my fears were and shedding the light on them, helped me to resolve them almost immediately. Today this approach often comes very handily in addressing my upsets and the underlying fears.
As you probably know, our brains react with fight-or-flight mechanism toward our fears — especially the big ones accompanying our big wishes.
And more often then not, we flee and procrastinate. We might express complaints or even swear and argue, but even those fighting bouts are helping us to escape what we fear, even if we yearn it nonetheless.
This escapism was very enlightening to see when I studied myself and my behaviors toward what I wanted or needed to do anthropologically, in other words, non-judgmentally.
I discovered that I didn’t only procrastinate things I claimed not wanting but having to do, such as bookkeeping for my business. But I also dragged behind myself those I thought or said I wanted to do very much, like writing books in a specific genre or learn a foreign language.
And while I procrastinated, I escaped from them into doing something else.
These escape-to activities, which saved me from both desired and undesired escape-from projects, were either those I labeled as giving me a break or something productive but not necessarily urgent, like laundry.
I also discovered I sometimes escaped doing laundry into writing or bookkeeping, every time I experienced either of the latter two as effortlessly doable. So my escape-from projects could switch places with escape-to tasks and vice versa.
Please note that you don’t escape only from the so-called productive tasks, as working on a project to create or produce something. You might also be running from giving yourself a break or sleeping enough by overworking yourself. So your work might become an escape-to activity too.
That was immensely fun and empowering to observe because, as a designer of my self-motivational games, I could adjust my design so that I limited the time or the points I earned for the escape-to tasks. Instead, I gave myself more points or stars or badges for making progress with my escape-from tasks, whatever they were at that moment.
To recognize your escape-from and escape-to projects or activities at any given moment, you need to play the anthropologist’s role-playing game with yourself. In other words, consider non-judgmentally for what exactly you have just pressed the “Escape” key and which activity or project saves you from it.
Then appreciate what you did in the latter and go back earning points and badges for the former — all the while observing yourself and the world around you as an eager and curious anthropologist.
Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed this article, then in addition to those quoted above, you might also like these:
How to Classify Tasks Based on What We Think and Do
And how that can help us to turn our projects into fun games
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