Last week I had the annual ritual of the MOT. The garage I use is some way from the centre of Newcastle so I have to leave the car there at 8:30 in the morning, take a bus into town then sit in a coffee shop and work until the garage call to give me the bad news.
They had more work to do than usual. My windscreen wipers would not lie down, they wanted to come to rest at a 45 degree angle against the windscreen – I don’t know why, but they did.
Not only that, some kind soul in my neighbourhood decided to smash my passenger side brake light. So I had two little extras to add to the list of repairs whatever else they found during the MOT.
While they worked on the car, I spent the morning answering emails and catching up with admin in my favourite coffee shop. Then I tried, without success, to think of some topic for the newsletter. In the absence of inspiration I went shopping.
I was browsing in a shop when I got the call from the garage.
‘Hello Mr Hunt, it’s the garage. The brake light cover will cost £124 to fit and the replacement windscreen wiper motor will cost £240. Can we proceed?’
I thought of saying lots of different things, but I settled for ‘(Sigh) OK, go ahead’
I was just coming to terms with being mugged by a garage when the phone rang again.
‘We don’t have those parts, we will have to keep your car until tomorrow to do the work. You will be able to collect it at 4pm’.
‘But, I have clients this afternoon and tomorrow morning I need the car … I can’t take it?’
‘No it’s failed it’s MOT’
‘(A bigger sigh) Oh well, so be it. Keep the car’
‘I’ll call you tomorrow’, she said in a bright cheery voice.
Carless and soon to be about £400-less I wandered out of the shop feeling a bit shell shocked
After a while I realised that I had the perfect subject for an article. How to use EFT to handle everyday stress. Many people think that the therapeutic techniques I use are for massive traumas, phobias and anxieties, but I think that techniques like EFT and NLP can help with everyday stressors and generally make life easier.
Since EFT is the technique I use the most often, I went with the tapping solution. I’ve recently come up with a simple way of breaking down a situation into tappable pieces so that it becomes easier to find a way into the problem so that it can be dismantled. (You can find a link to free copies of the worksheet here)
Describe the situation in a few words
‘The car repairs are going to cost up to £500 and I won’t have the car back until tomorrow afternoon at the earliest’
Create some simple summaries of the effects by completing the following sentences.
It is / he is / she is / they are / I am …
‘It is a bloody rip-off!’
‘They have me over a barrel!’
Describe what you see and hear when the situation occurs that causes you distress.
I see …
I hear …
‘I hear her telling me about the vastly inflated prices’
‘I hear her asking me if they can go ahead (as if I had a choice) ‘
Describe what you think, imagine or tell yourself about this situation
‘I’m being robbed’
‘I think I’m being taken for a ride’
‘I don’t have any choice’
Describe how you feel
‘I feel powerless’
‘I feel taken advantage of’
‘I feel as though I’m being taken for a fool’
‘I feel low’
If this situation reminds you of anything describe the memory.
(In this case the situation doesn’t bring to mind any other situations. If it did I would assume that the memory contributed to the pattern of distress and take care of that memory too.)
Read each of the statements out loud to get a sense of the kind of charge that each one generates. Give them a score from 0-10, where 0 is no charge and 10 is as bad as it could be.
‘It’s a bloody rip off’ – 8
‘I hear her telling me the vastly over inflated prices’- 6
‘I feel powerless’ – 8
Start tapping. Choose the part of the problem, the aspect, that has the highest charge and get tapping.
I did that and neutralised as many of the stressors as I could find and felt a bit more accepting of the situation.
Nothing had changed about the external world. I was still without a car, still looking at having to pay about £500 to get it back. But I didn’t lie awake at night worrying about it or grinding my teeth.
Why should I bother doing all this tapping and introspection?
Wouldn’t it just be easier to go home, eat a packet of chocolate biscuits, drink a bottle of wine, kick the cat or watch some rubbish TV until the feelings went down?
It might be easier, but it wouldn’t be better. Distraction is just a way of letting stuff sink below the surface. Just because it’s below the surface it doesn’t mean it’s gone away. Quite the contrary, it’s just adding to the stress burden of your system, more material to be triggered when something similar happens again.
By working on everyday stressors we can begin to undo the stress wiring so that there is less to trigger when life presents us with stressful situations, so that similar situations in the future are less, rather than more stress provoking.VirtualErn