So I am walking on a road barrier. The beam is fairly wide, at least 7 inches. It is a very easy walk; I am only 30 cm above street level. I am feeling comfortable and safe. Even even if I took unfortunate step, the landing would be very easy, on the soft grass. There is no risk.
At this point the beam slowly starts climbing higher and higher. Suddenly I am one metre above the ground and the height is rising with every step. What is worse, there is no more soft, comforting landing underneath me. Instead of green, soft carpet, I face a four metre drop and deep, dark and very cold water.
Something extraordinary happens. Without even realising it I start walking much, much slower. I notice an unpleasant shiver in my gut. I start questioning the point of this whole exercise. I want to stop, get back to the comfort of the pavement. I am afraid.
Should I listen to my inner voice and step down or on the contrary, keep going? And what has actually happened? How is it possible that in a couple of seconds I have lost all my confidence and an easy task has turned into a massive obstacle?
The point of this story is simple. Your brain plays tricks on you, all the time. The same easy task might become much harder when the circumstances change. Be conscious of this.
Focus on breathing and imagine yourself being in the swimming pool or speaking to your best friend over a cup of tea.
Stay in the moment. Focus on the task and do not let your brain look ahead as this almost always leads to imagining the worst case scenario. Those images will make you anxious and will undermine your ability to finis the task.
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