We can all sometimes over-react to a relatively minor worry. Assigning a numeric rating to what is bothering you is a simple technique that you can use to more quickly let go of the small stuff and better devote your time and energy to focusing on what’s really important. This is a brief, in the moment mental exercise that you can do every time that something is upsetting you. It works like this:
Think of your problems/worries on a scale of 1 – 10. Something rated a 10 is truly life and death, such as dealing with a terminal illness. A problem rated a 1 is what you would consider a fairly insignificant event, such as being 10 minutes late to your child’s soccer game.
Anything that you rate a 7 or above is genuinely a serious problem that would naturally result in anxiety and concern for most people. These are the problems that really do require your full time and attention. Concerns that you rate a 5 or 6 are probably worth worrying about but while the situation might be relatively serious it’s a problem that is fixable and survivable. Problems that you rate a 4 or below may not be worth getting upset over at all. These are the ones that you should really try to let go of if you can.
This exercise may seem overly simplistic at first but those who successfully utilize it report that it makes a significant improvement in their ability to keep things in perspective and in how they react to the things that concern or irritate them. Sometimes when we think logically about a concern we realize that a “problem” really isn’t a problem after all.