I stumbled across this post on stress management over at DiVITA Speaks http://www.divitaspeaks.com by way of the related post on Lip-Sticking which I read regularly. I loved it because it illustrates a simple yet powerful concept central to the issue of stress and burnout. You can’t hold a glass of water forever without reaching exhaustion and needing to call 911.
In the article, Benecia Beyer references a post from the blog Spiritual Struggle which is now defunct. It asks the pivotal question “How heavy is a glass of water?” Do you know? Have your answer in mind? If so…read on to see how much it REALLY weighs.
A lecturer, when explaining stress management to an audience, raised a glass of water and asked, “How heavy is this glass of water?” Answers called out ranged from 3 ounces to 6 ounces. The lecturer replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long you hold it.”
“If I hold it for a minute, that’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, you’ll have to call an ambulance. In each case, it’s the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.”
He continued, “And that’s the way it is with stress management. If we carry our burdens all of the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won’t be able to carry on. As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again.”
As someone who often struggles with letting go (don’t we all) and wanting to keep plugging away at something rather than take a step back, I think this is a great metaphor and reminder that sometimes you just have to put things down. Whether it is a problem you can’t solve, a grudge, or a behavior or activity that is no longer working for you, you need to let go. At the very least we all need time and space to rest and relax in order to keep our energy reserves and effectiveness high.
- What glasses have you been holding onto until you ache?
- Are you headed for a breakdown in effectiveness in any parts of your life or business because the burden is becoming increasingly heavy?
- Where do you need to put the glass down for a while and rest?
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