“Once, a wealthy merchant hired a carpenter to renovate an old farmhouse. Since the merchant was one of those people who like to have everything under control and feared that the work would not be done well, he decided to spend a day at home to see how the work was going.
At the end of the day he realized that the carpenter had worked hard, even though he had faced a lot of unexpected events. To end the unfortunate day, the carpenter's car broke down and the merchant offered to take him home.
The carpenter didn't say a word all the way, visibly angry and worried about all the setbacks he'd had during the day.
However, once they got to his house the carpenter invited the merchant to meet his family and asked him to stay for dinner, but before opening the door, he stopped in front of a small tree and stroked its branches for a few minutes.
When he opened the door and entered the house, the transformation had been radical: he looked like a happy man. Dinner passed between amiable laughter and animated conversation. Late at night, the carpenter accompanied the trader to his car.
As they passed the tree, he asked him:
- What's special about this tree? Before entering you looked angry and worried and after touching him you turned into another man.
"This is the Problem Tree," replied the carpenter. - I am aware that I cannot avoid all problems at work, but there is no need to take my worries home. When I touch the branches of this tree I unload the worries on them to take them back the next morning, when I return to work. The interesting thing is that every morning I find less
worries than the ones I left the day before.
That night, the rich merchant learned one of the most important lessons of his life ”.
The mental virus of worries
Worries overwhelm us and manage to ruin the moments of relaxation that we have conquered with hard work and sacrifice. In fact, it's no surprise that when we're on vacation, we keep thinking about work we have left unfinished or that we allow customers to bother us even on weekends.
However, Napoleon Bonaparte said: "free yourself from worries, as you get rid of your clothes before going to bed".
In fact, worries work like a real mental virus generating anxiety and stress, making us irritable people unable to enjoy the present. The good news is that we can free ourselves from these worries, at least momentarily, and they are likely to be less threatening when we come back to address them than they initially seemed.
3 strategies to free yourself from worries
The ritual. The Tree of Problems to which the story refers is nothing more than a ritual, but there are many others, it is important to discover the ritual suitable for us that helps us to free ourselves from worries. For example, a good ritual is to practice meditation, diaphragmatic breathing, or relaxation techniques 10 minutes before going to bed. Thus, the storm inside you will turn into a calm sea and you can sleep in peace.
But there are many other alternatives, such as listening to music or taking a walk after work, preferably surrounded by nature, to get rid of all the problems that have arisen in the office. What matters is to set out to put your worries aside. At first it will be
difficult, but once the ritual has become automatic it will be much easier.
An exercise in memory. Another way to get rid of worries is to put them in perspective. When we disconnect emotionally from situations, they will seem less threatening and we will find a solution more easily. A simple exercise to do is to remember what exactly worried you 365 days ago, starting today. What exactly were you worried about a year ago?
You probably don't remember this because unless you've been through a really stressful situation, the worries we face every day are usually transient and leave no footprints in our memory. In such a way that what worries you today in a few months will be irrelevant, then why not start taking away emotional meaning from now. When you feel saturated and ready to explode from everyday worries, keep this Swedish proverb in mind: "Worry allows small things to cast very long shadows."
The appointment. If you've had any concerns over the past few days, it's time to set up a regular appointment with them. Yes, set aside 30 minutes of your time each day to think freely about the things that worry you, to give free rein to your worries. But since this is a regular date, you shouldn't think about anything other than your worries at the time.
Very soon you will realize that it is not easy to keep your thoughts focused for half an hour on a single concern, but even so, force yourself to focus your attention and try to think about the consequences of the problem until they acquire a grotesque tone. At this point, the worries will seem less threatening. Also, for the rest of the day, when you have a problem, write it down and postpone it until your next appointment. So you will avoid worrying all the time.
And if all this were not enough, you can transcribe this sentence of the writer Jodi Picoult somewhere in a place that you will have under your eyes every day: "worries are like a treadmill: they get tired, but they lead nowhere".