“It’ll be fine!”

It’s a phrase that most of us have uttered at one time or another, and the unfortunate behavior of a young singer brought it to mind again recently.  But innocuous as it may seem, if you’ve too often reassured yourself or others with this “oops/oh well…” cliché when your own behavior has been less than superb, you’re in danger of creating a dangerous pattern.

It crops up for some when they’re late, embarrassed, and just trying to save face.  For others, it might be self-soothing in the face of a lack of preparation.  Perhaps you’ve left something at home:  pencil?  music?  water?  cough drops?  breakfast? Or perhaps that delayed repair to your car would have saved you a call to AAA this morning.  In the face of inconvenience and frustration, particularly when we’ve fashioned it ourselves,”it’ll be fine” is sometimes the way we get our brains to move on to the next step.

It’s a coping mechanism, intended to manage stress in the moment.  You’re probably just trying to get through your day.  But if you find yourself reaching for this situational stopgap on a regular basis, it’s time to start taking a broader view toward preventative stress relief: instead of finding ways to alleviate the anxiety that has already occurred, put some of that energy into avoiding the issue in the first place.

Think about your other habits, particularly the ones you haven’t built yet — the ones that could keep some of these things from happening more than once in a long while.  If there’s a snafu that keeps appearing in your life, like the proverbial bad penny, what can you do to rid yourself of that particular annoyance?  What would your life be like if you stopped being late, poorly packed, unfed, or simply too sleepy?

Take a look at the little things that could have a big impact. What would it take to leave fifteen minutes earlier for every call?  Do you need a basket by your front door, so you can collect all the necessities for your day as you think of them, rather than in the frantic last minutes as you walk out the door?

Don’t let your habits get in your way.  Save “fine” to describe the work you do when your ducks are lined up in a better row.  It’s not about being perfect.  This sort of preventative thinking is the ultimate stress reduction.

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