Reduce worry and overwhelm; have a Scarlett O’Hara Moment…
Flashback to 2010…
Today’s post is inspired by an idea from my early blogging days – when my focus was how to stay serene (or at least sane) if you were an undomestic goddess with a home to keep.
It’s a tip from my first blog, Make Peace With Housework:
The idea of having a ‘Scarlett O’Hara Moment’.
When I originally wrote about this, it was a suggestion to help reduce feelings of frustration and overwhelm for sufferers of housework blues.
I offered it as a psychological trick to help my readers keep calm and carry on. (Even though that’s now an overused cliché, I still believe it’s a powerful strategy for resilience, inner strength and success.)
If you’d like to read the original post, you can find that in the Make Peace With Housework blog archive.
But over the years, I’ve found it such a useful tool, that I’m updating it for general use and sharing it here too…
• • •
What is a Scarlett O’Hara Moment?
Inspired by one of my favourite fictional heroines, a Scarlett O’Hara Moment is the simple decision to postpone worry.
In the classic film, Gone With The Wind, Scarlett has a habit of scheduling difficult decisions…
“I can’t think about that right now.
If I do, I’ll go crazy.
I’ll think about it tomorrow.”
~ Scarlett O’Hara
Now, this may seem childish or irresponsible at first, or it might even sound like denial – and it’s true that there are times when it’s not possible or appropriate.
But there are other times, lots of times during everyday dramas, when it could actually be a genius coping mechanism.
Because for all its childish simplicity – it works!
Psychologists now know that when we’re stressed or overwhelmed – we don’t think clearly, we don’t make the best decisions.
So whenever possible, Scarlett’s strategy is a perfect solution.
Those times in the midst of drama – when our emotions are high and our head is spinning – sometimes the best decision is to not make any decisions. Yet.
We can take a deep breath – and choose a Scarlett O’Hara moment:
the simple choice to think about it tomorrow.
And there’s so much relief in this.
(I speak from experience – it’s a strategy I’ve used often since I first wrote about it in 2010.)
This tactic gives you some mental breathing space which can really help you recover your balance and calm.
It takes the pressure off, even if only temporarily.
Intending to worry about it another day is far easier than trying to write it off completely.
Because you’re not trying to deny or suppress your frustration, you’re just filing it for future attention.
You’re scheduling it for a Less-Frazzled Later – a time when you’re better able to manage it with clarity and reason.
There’s also a hidden benefit to this tactic…
When we stop pushing so frantically for a solution, many problems have a habit of ‘mysteriously’ sorting themselves out.
So, sometimes, when you’ve regained your calm, you realise that there was no need to worry after all.
By having a Scarlett O’Hara Moment, you saved yourself all that needless anxiety and stress.
But even if the issue does need addressing the next day, you can approach it with more balanced emotions, you can make a clearer assessment and ultimately better decisions.
I’ll admit, there will be times when this isn’t as easy as it sounds – but it does get easier with practice, I promise.
And even if you only manage this trick on every other attempt – you will reduce your angst by half.
As an incentive, remind yourself that it’s a practice that not only helps to soothe you in the moment – it will also bring more peace, calm and serenity to your life and relationships.
Because by postponing decisions and reactions for a Less-frazzled Later, you’ll enjoy the happy ripple effects of better choices, responses and solutions.
So, the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed or stuck in a worry-loop, take a tip from Scarlett:
If you can, make the decision to simply not worry about it, for now.
Take a deep breath, and decide to think about it tomorrow.
PS If you’d like more small-but-mighty tips, designed especially for creative souls, you can now get the full collection of these posts in The Book of The Blog.
It makes for a great reference tool that you can dip into whenever your creative spirit needs a quick boost.