"Cinderella reminds us that everything can change in a moment"
Especially if you are of behaviourist persuasion, timing is an incredibly important part of life. As a child we learn that people will (or won't) respond to us, because we unconsciously process the time and consistency of their behaviour when we cry. We can condition someone to act in a certain way by a timely reward, or deter a behaviour by its removal. Research into gambling on slot machines reveals an intricate set of timings within the machine programming designed to keep us digging deeper into our pockets.
Not only that but when you think your friend, your manager, or your partner "doesn't listen" when you've "said it loads" - did you time that discussion for when they were actually able to hear you?
We fear the passing of time when we are missing someone, or sometimes we wish it away to reach a longed-for event
We put things off until "the right time" as if we know the exact moment that "it'll be ok".
Being so affected by time, it upsets us to learn that the reality is we cannot control it. To some extent we can predict what may happen and when if we are good at planning but an unexpected turn can send us into a spiral of disarray.
The practice of mindfulness can sometimes help with managing all our pressing demands because the mere act of taking a "moment"to ourselves in order to recharge can actually increase our capacity to deal with everything life throws at us when we return. (And if you want to try a meditation, please click here):
But timing can be something else as well - it can be the only silver lining in a bad day - or run of bad days. Have you ever thought "Well, if it was going to happen, at least it happened when I could deal with it/when I had less on/when I could be around/when I had some savings..."?
This year has already seen my savings depleted and certain plans derailed due to a number of unpredictable life changes including yesterday's offering - a burst pipe flooding my living room! However, as frustrating, upsetting or expensive those things were/are, the one thing I have been able to be grateful for is "Well, if it was going to happen anyway, there are worse times...!" To me that way of thinking gives me a little more "reality" rather than the less tangible platitudes "Oh it could have been worse", and enables me to maintain some genuine positivity.
I'm not saying this will work for everyone, but I have found what has helped me is using the "gratitude journal" technique. Unlike others who promote it, and all the apps out there, I do not find it necessary to write what I am grateful for every day. However, when I do, I make it a point to write very clearly what it was that made me so thankful, and why. It was this practice that made me realise that, especially when you have no influence, timing really can be everything.
The Gratitude Journal
Write down up to 3 things you are grateful for and explain why
1 Minute meditation (if the 6 minute attached is too long)
Picture your favourite place - a place where you are happy and at peace. As you are doing so breathe in a simple pattern:
3 counts in, hold 2, 4 counts out - repeat this 3 times as you make the colours in your imagined picture bolder and brighter.
No matter what the outcome - was there a worse time it could have happened?