Note to Self: Eating Frogs May Relieve Nausea

September 17, 2009 at 2:20 am | Posted in Dealing with Depression, Productivity, Work Life | Leave a comment

Can eating this little guy cure nausea and malaise?

Can eating this little guy cure nausea and malaise?

As I’ve remarked before in this space, mornings are my best time. If I wake up feeling crappy, my mood tends to slide downward from there.

Imagine my distress, then, when I woke up yesterday feeling a firm two on a scale from zero to 10. Zero equals catatonic depression, while 10 is psychotic mania (I’ve never experienced over about a seven); five is calm, energetic normalcy. My stomach was churning with anxiety, terrible thoughts were erupting into my brain and blossoming there, and it took a Herculean effort and a few cups of coffee to get started with my morning tasks.

I actually considered staying home to see if lying in bed and staring at the wall would somehow prove therapeutic. I could easily guess why I felt such distress. I was procrastinating about answering two dreaded emails at work; I was also scheduled to give a big presentation, and I felt too miserable to go through with it.

So once I got to work I took action on two fronts. First, I completed the “Prescription for Procrastinators” exercise from David Burns’ Feeling Good Handbook, which I’ve mentioned before in this space. Then, as one writer on procrastination puts it, I promptly swallowed my morning frogs — i.e., I read and answered the damn emails.

Having done that, and thereby gaining a small but measurable mood lift, I printed out my presentation, shut myself in an empty team room, and did two back-to-back dry runs complete with gestures. My mood subsequently improved from a two to a four — a 20% increase through two activities that took less than 45 minutes.

So the moral of the story is, don’t kiss your frogs, swallow them.

But seriously, folks — though I know that procrastination depresses me significantly, I really didn’t expect such dramatic results. I can guarantee you that if I hadn’t started the day by slaying procrastination, I would have approached my presentation with significantly less energy. And after I gave a well-rehearsed, kick-ass presentation, I was briefly just below a six. Sure, the high faded, but the overall average mood of the day benefited remarkably from the simple act of frog-swallowing.

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