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Monday, March 26, 2012

Eat Your Peas First

When I was a kid I wasn't fond of vegetables. Especially peas. They were my nemesis and I hated them. I would spend huge amounts of time agonizing on having to eat them. While sitting at the table I spent time thinking about the best way to eat them and more time on how to secretly get rid of them. I would have mood swings and be difficult and say "But why do I have ta"?? On pea night I was often the lone diner well after everyone left the table On "pea night" I was always the last to leave the table.

Somewhere along the way I learned from "pea night" to just go ahead and eat them first. By eating my peas first I could enjoy my dinner and be more pleasant which in turn made things more pleasant for everyone else at the table. I could get "seconds" on the things that I did like ( benefit), and best of all I could have dessert and sometimes a little extra (huge benefit if you're 7) because I ate my peas like a "good girl" (which really meant without a bad attitude)!! I learned that I, not the peas created pressure for myself which in turn I created a bad mood and sometimes pressure on everyone else.

In the language of my field, I made the "peas" a stressor. A stressor can be positive or a negative event. The type of response we have to the stressor depends upon the reaction to the stressor. In my case I would self-talk myself into a tizzy because I really hated peas.

Eating your peas first has ended up being one of my tools and a philosophy I live by. Do the hardest first. The rest is probably a piece of cake. In fact what may be "the hardest" may be your self talk telling you that. Stress is not all in your head, but that is where it begins. Different individuals perceive stressors differently. For one person, an event may be viewed as a challenge; for another, it may be viewed as a severe threat or problem. Therefore, events do not cause stress, the ways we interpret and react to them do.

So, eat your peas first.

If you or someone you know needs anger or stress management please call the Director Yacine Bell at the Anger Mangement Institute, LLC. We are certified and an evidence based program with both a pre and post assessment. 510.393.0250