Photo courtesy of

running out of wick

Stress is when your mouth says yes and your gut says no.

I have been getting a lot of calls recently and the major theme is people are stressed out to their breaking point. The reasons are different (umm, not so much, actually). There is not enough time, too many demands, having to be in six places at once and they are stuck in traffic at 5:05 p.m. It is their boss, their mate, their child, their mother, the grocery clerk, their damn phone, multi-tasking to the nth degree.

I used to teach stress reduction. Well, you teach best what you needed to learn, right?

Sometimes it is a matter of taking a deep breath, other times, walking out of the room. Some people detox through exercise (I admire those guys). Sometimes, it is stepping back and checking your priorities. Of course, if you had time to step back, you would have, right?

Curiously, out of all the exercises ever done in my classes, one stood out far and away from all the others. It was a simple sheet of lined paper, a pen, and about two minutes long. Take the pencil/pen and draw five columns – the one on the left is the largest, then four smaller columns. Title those columns: Name, 2013, 2018, 2023, 2028. Begin with your name, and in the 2013 column, write your age, then how old you will be in the following columns. Now list all the people you love most dearly by their names and ages.

That’s it. That’s that one exercise that caused the most reaction. That one simple piece of paper and pen caused more clients to turn their lives around. Most of our lives are spent on tasks, things, people who mean nothing to us. Our technology has some great things going for it ~ we live in remarkable times. But that very technology that allows us to do more with less is killing us.

And now, take a breath.


About that clock… There are 1,440 minutes in a day, and you’ve got 288 five minute periods.

8 thoughts on “Stressed?

  1. Interesting that the ones who are the most important, are the ones who get neglected. We have “time”, and we have “money”. Obviously it takes the time to earn the money…which is why we aren’t always
    with the loved ones. Is this some kind of socialist trick question? HaHa!


  2. I’m always stuck in traffic at 5:05 pm. If I’m not it’s because I have not left work yet 😉
    The thing with stress is – prioritize. Some things are more important than others – trick is to not let the non-essentials become more important then the essentials.
    I like this exercise – think I must try it – will definitely put things in perspective!


    • Indeed it does. I was always surprised at the gasps that echoed throughout the room as people filled out the columns – in one quick glance, there is your map.

      One curious thing: as people jotted down names of the people they loved most in the world, quite frequently they would ask if they could list somebody who had died… it is your list – no permission needed. I think we keep the dead close to us whether from love or regret.


    • Lynn, I missed this comment of yours. Jet forward to today and what you’ve got on your plate…So many number one priorities. Thinking of you, dear heart. Best ~ HuntMode


  3. Hunt, what a worthwhile page. I would love to assume to be here in 20 years, but it is unlikely. The list under 2013 is quite short, and there are a couple birthdays I am not sure of, so I do have some homework. But you’re right it is a very simple exercise that yields a ton. Take care, Bill


  4. Bill, they would have said that about you six years ago, yes? Some sage said something like, “The present is a gift. That’s why we called it the “present.” Nobody knows their end date – they may think they do or be told one, but that’s God’s play. We just have to be sure to show up. 🙂 Best ~ HuntMode


Come talk with me...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s