Tool: The Wise Old You

I’ve said many times here that I’m always looking for tools and techniques, specific things that help us snap out of the stress of the moment and see things with more clarity. A great one is to picture a wise, old you in the future, long past whatever situation is currently happening. As I tell my clients, “Picture yourself as a wise old man or woman, sitting in a rocking chair outside on the porch on a beautiful day. You’re watching the birds, reading, or chatting with a friend or family member. You’re totally relaxed and stress-free.” I must admit that this tool is designed more for people who don’t already fit that description. Please don’t sue me for age discrimination.

Now let’s ask some questions of that wise, old person. How would s/he view this current situation? Probably as being not as big a deal as it seems to be now. It could even be something huge and life-altering, but the emotional charge and mental frenzy would be long, long gone. The next question is how will the wise, old you view how you handled it? Probably with acceptance, whether or not you handled it very well. This is because the wise, old you knows that life is all about learning from tough situations. And even if you didn’t do so well, the wise old you knows that everybody isn’t perfect and we all make mistakes. That’s how we grow. And the cool thing is that the simple act of referring to your future self might help you handle a tough situation better than you otherwise would have, because you want that person to be proud of how you did.

This tool, like the others here at A Clean Mind, is designed to be used when things are going south. In the heat of the moment, take a breath and picture that peaceful person. That’s you in the future, no matter how this situation unfolds. Unless you die, I guess. Hey, a little gallows humor never killed anyone… Seriously, though, this tool can be really powerful. It’s helped lots of my clients, and I just realized that I hadn’t written about it here yet. No tool is perfect, so we will still have our ups and downs. All of these tools, though, are designed to help minimize the downs. Tough situations will always happen – it’s how we handle them. All of these tools can really help us handle them better than we otherwise would have. And I’m sure that the wise, old you would agree.