In “Change your Beliefs, Change your life“, Dr. Nick Hall proposes a theory for shifting mindset when you find yourself in tough situations.
I liked the concept instantly, largely because of how Dr. Hall explains it (I’m listening on Audible).
The basic gist is that you’re shifting your alternative image to make the current situation easier to manage.
This works better if you’ve actually experienced the worse reality as you’re able to call it to mind and juxtapose it with the current situation, allowing you to keep things in perspective.
Yesterday, I got the opportunity to try out the technique.
We had a 3 boiler engineers come round and do a service (No idea why so many). They found that the flue had been installed badly and they condemned the boiler and turned it off. After spending the day pricing our options and purchasing a new boiler (£2805) I was advised the earliest installation slot would be 9 November. No heating for 2 weeks, just as the weather turns and I have an asthmatic 3 year old in the house who will inevitably end up sick.
I lay in my bed last night, feeling the cold on my face and worrying about how much colder the house was going to get over the two weeks. My heart and head started to pound and I realised I was gritting my teeth.
It didn’t take long for me to turn against myself. Why hadn’t I fought harder to keep the heating on? Why hadn’t I thrown those guys out of my house? Why hadn’t I demanded to speak to a supervisor and make my case? I hadn’t done any of those things. I assumed the decision was iron-clad and made no attempt to establish any weak points in the reasoning or opportunities for discretion. Of course, at 3am, the certainty that, had I fought harder, I’d have secured a better outcome, haunted and taunted me and I became increasingly more anxious.
That’s when I Dr. Hall’s technique and decided to give it a try. You’re supposed to pick at least 3 versions of the sentence I am glad I am not…
I’m glad I am not sleeping outside.
I am glad I am not without other options to heat my house.
I am glad I am not alone.
It was quite useful in making me realise how much worse things could be but even so, I found it quite difficult. I naturally wanted to switch to “I am glad I am…” so I did that as well.
I am glad I am snuggled up in my warm bed.
I am glad my children are sleeping soundly.
I am glad we’ll be away for the weekend and won’t need to think about the heating until Monday.
I am glad we have a fireplace in the living room to keep us warm.
I am glad we have to oil heaters we can use to warm the house up a bit.
I am glad we only have to wait two weeks to get it sorted.
I am glad we have options.
My heart rate began to slow and my jaw unclenched. The headache took a bit longer but eventually, I fell asleep, feeling that, no matter what happens, I have all I need to get my family through the next 2 weeks.