Ever had one of those days? The alarm doesn’t go off and you are in a bigger hurry than usual. You stub your toe on the way to the shower. The coffee machine decides not to work, AND the dog refuses to come back in even though you’re in a rush to get out the door.
There does seem to be a domino effect with stress. When we’re stressed out, we’re often in a hurry and doing many things at once, or lots of things right in a row. When one of those things goes wrong, suddenly it’s like the first domino fell, and the rest fall right behind. One after another, other things start going haywire. It leads to what we end up calling “one of those days.”
What happens on days like this? Often, it starts both with where our attention is, and is not. When we have a lot going on and we’re multi-tasking on the run, our attention is divided. We are not as present as we are when we are doing one thing at a time. Stressed out people are often doing one thing while their minds are on the next thing on the list. Or they’re hurrying to finish one task at home while in their minds are already out the door, miles away, already at work.
This is a recipe for falling dominos. It only takes one thing to “go wrong” when we’re that stressed for us to get irritable, or down on ourselves, or even more rushed. That’s kind of asking for the next thing to “go wrong,” and the next…
Instead, it can be a good practice to notice when that urgent, “gotta get it all done now” feeling comes in. When we can shift the pressured energy, even for a few moments, we’re less likely to hit that first domino in our day and suffer through the others falling. Breaking up the rush can make all the difference. Just slow down on purpose – remind yourself it will all get done even if it’s not all started in the next three nano-seconds. Smile at a friend or a loved one or a pet. Or just smile in the mirror, or make a goofy face. Breaking up the stress pattern can allow you to make a fresh start on your day and avoid hitting that first stress domino altogether.