Dear friend: The gift of everyday problems

Instead of thinking about growing the biggest cucumbers in town, Beatrice now worries about mad cow disease that looked like an explosive epidemic, world trade wars, nuclear proliferation, drug-resistant bugs and more. . With her new and vast circle of concerns, she lived in “prey mode” all the time. No wonder his blood pressure is through the roof.

Our little 3-pound brain that had been busy securing berries and meat for the longest time suddenly became aware of huge, unsolvable problems – solar flares that could destroy our power grid, dark holes sweeping across galaxies or a large asteroid. who almost missed the land, to the artificial scuffles that occupy the headlines – there is no shortage of things that can ignite our worries. No matter how predictable your day-to-day life is, once these big issues take over your brain property, peace and restful sleep will be gone. Concerns about the country’s future, deadly pandemics, crime and politics are among the most common modern stressors today.

A few years ago back home we faced a very different local threat. An unwanted visitor has entered our basement: a mouse. Voracious eater, his excrement decorated the whole house. We responded with a rampage of cleaning up, setting traps and more. The whole family came together to face this external threat like we had never done before. After two exhausting days, we caught the mouse.

As the celebrations of our conquest drew to a close, I realized that during those two days, we had forgotten that some parts of the world were still at war, that the economy was facing headwinds, that the terrorist threat was always orange.

“Maybe the little everyday problems are a gift,” I thought. A definite solvable problem concentrates the brain, clutters its attention span, distracting attention from big, unsolvable problems. I felt truly grateful to the mouse that day for giving me this wisdom. The noise of the refrigerator, the leaking faucet, overgrown weeds, my one-star reviews – I’ve started to welcome small annoyances – at least for now.

Consider being thankful today for a solvable but unresolved problem that graces your day. Your boredom will occupy your mind and could act as a protective shield against the heat of bigger, intractable problems. Having said that, I would rather clean up spilled milk than clean up after a mouse.

I almost forgot to tell you about Ms. Beatrice. She reduced the daily dose of negative news, and within weeks her blood pressure returned to normal.

Dr Amit Sood answers your questions about stress, resilience, happiness, relationships and related topics in his column. Send an email to [email protected]

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