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Shake it Off!

Posted 30/10/2017

I have a favourite phrase that I like to use when I am speaking to someone who is being dragged down by something that they just can’t do anything about.  I borrowed it from the song of the same name by the lovely Taylor Swift.  Shake it off.

Now before I go on, please understand that I would NEVER tell a client to “shake it off”! If someone has come to me in search of my professional support, they will get a far more robust approach than being told to shake it off I promise you.  But if I see a friend in distress about something and it feels right to say it, I’m saying it!

This isn’t a phrase that you should use if there is any way to materially improve a situation that you are worried about – maybe a row with your partner, a leaking tap, a car that has failed its MOT etc.  But if you are worried about the political situation in your country to the point where you are losing sleep, or you are concerned that the hurricane that is bearing down on your next holiday destination might damage your hotel, I’m going to tell you to shake it off.

And here’s why.  What can you do to change the political situation in your country beyond casting a vote.  Not a busting lot.  What will worrying about an impending hurricane do to the power or destruction caused by that hurricane.  Nothing.

On the flip side however, your worrying could be costing you sleep, which in turn could be making you less effective in the day time.  You might be snappish with your partner or late for an appointment.  You could burn the dinner through being distracted or make bad food choices because you feel so worried….and for what?  Nothing.  Because nothing you do, nothing you think, no amount of lost sleep or pizza eaten is going to change anything.

So….shake it off!

In a nutshell – change the things you can change and don’t waste emotional energy on the stuff that you cannot do anything about.

It’s a skill to be learned but once you have it under your belt, you, like me, will be channeling Taylor whenever you feel that mis-placed and pointless worry start to creep up on you or anyone you care about.

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