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Friday, March 20, 2015

Anticipation

Don't forget to floss!

Good morning, its International Day of Happiness AND the first day of spring!

As you shed all the layers of clothes from winter, perhaps you should also consider shedding the weight of tasks you've been putting off?

Are you a procrastinator?  Some people put everything they don't enjoy off until the last minute.  Others do everything immediately to get it off their back.  Most of us procrastinate only in some areas, like everyday stuff, getting out the door, cleaning the house, or filing taxes, or big stuff like ending relationships, quitting smoking or...dental work.

We are, after all, naturally hedonistic creatures that seek out pleasure and try to avoid pain, but with most things our anticipation of negative events is often worse than the actual event.  This is something I discuss a lot with clients with fears about leaving a relationship, starting fertility treatment, getting rid of clutter they have been hoarding, etc.  What is most frightening is the uncertainty involved in future events. But uncertainty is an inevitable part of life for all of us.

I've realized that as an adult, I am someone who does put certain things off.  Most recently it was dental work.  I've had a cracked tooth my dentist wanted to fix for ages.  Her office booked the procedure and I cancelled it 4 times.  I hate dental work on the best of days - I find it intensely uncomfortable to have my mouth yanked open wide for a long period of time - but last time I had a cracked tooth I ended up having to have a root canal in the end.  That process was miserable.  The root canal itself wasn't the worst of it.  Sitting in my dentist's chair for several hours after it so she could make the moulds for the crown was awful, and then the period of time between that and getting the crown when I had to wear a temporary one (which fell out and caused me all sorts of pain) was completely yucky.

we get an A for effort

I finally bit the bullet and went in yesterday.  At first I tried to convince her just to clean my teeth because the crack hasn't been causing me too much pain, but she insisted we deal with it.  Eventually I gave in.  The good news was that it wasn't as bad as the other one and she feels drilling and filling the tooth will do...at least for now. 

Actually, when I finally gave in to my fate, I closed my eyes and decided to just try and relax.  I actually got very relaxed and actually started to feel sleepy.  About half way through my dentist stopped and asked me if I was meditating.  I almost laughed because...I realized I was...unintentionally.  I was definitely thinking about stuff, as always, my mind was going as fast as always, but just like mindfulness practitioners suggest, I was just letting them float away like clouds, observing them, but not reacting to them.

I can't say getting a massive needle in my gums was pleasant, nor was the drilling, which creates a nauseating burned flesh smell, nor was the filling of the tooth nor all the adjustments she then had to make to my bite to align my jaw properly.  The pain after the freezing wore off wasn't delightful either.  But you know what? I survived.  The worst case scenario didn't happen.  And I don't have to live with the dread that was hanging over me anymore!

Most of my clients have the same experience; when they finally do what they have been putting off, they realize it wasn't so bad, or even if it was, they are more resilient than they gave themselves credit for and not only survived the event, but feel a sense of relief and sometimes joy that it is done.  We humans are pretty amazing creatures.  We can endure a lot.

So make a list of everything you have been putting off due to fear and tackle each thing ASAP.  I promise you'll feel better!

Another Dental Joke

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