A few days ago, I was reminded of the importance of the art of mental flexibility in order to avoid stress.
One of the many reasons people feel stressed out is that life changes when they don’t want it or expect it. It is the surprise change that throws the careful routine out the window. People then tense up, trying to restore what was, without being opened to the change and the possibilities it could bring into their life.
I consider myself quite good at being flexible and I believe it to be true for the most part. But sometimes, we need a reminder.
For the past 10 years, we have led a gluten, milk and egg free life, due to a lot of food allergies running in the family. While it had been a huge initial adjustment at the time, and it had continued to be extremely restrictive for us, we had found a routine that worked. We had adapted.
Then a few weeks ago, the doctor suggested that the kids should be re-tested for their allergies and the way to do that was to re-introduce in their diet the offending foods for a couple of months and have test done again at the end of the period.
Needless to say, the kids were ecstatic. Finally they would be able to eat like everybody else and enjoy the foods they had been missing out on – pizza, cupcakes, cheeseburgers – the first few days were a teenager dream.
However, I had a completely different reaction. I felt overwhelmed by the idea of all the changes needing to happen for this to work: Double food preparation, (Not everybody in the family is being re-tested), change in shopping patterns, getting used to using those ingredients again, … The list went on and on.
While in theory, I could see that it was a very positive move, I was really struggling with the change emotionally.
Why? Continue reading