Of all the believe-it-or-not, world record stunts out there, one of the most intriguing and sensory-grating examples can teach us some important lessons about stress.
Meet Michel Lotito, aka “Mr. Eats All”, known for showing off his proclivity towards eating objects — light bulbs, shopping carts, and chandeliers. His largest feat was a Cessna 150 aircraft, bringing his lifetime tally of metal (and perhaps mental) mayhem to nine tons.
This perplexing behavior was not just a case of extreme pica (an eating disorder characterized by consuming objects that cannot be digested), but one that shows us that we are often capable of things beyond our comprehension (and yes, some pretty bizarre behavior, too!)
Mr. Eats-All apparently went about his quest with careful and deliberate precision, infusing mineral oil to aid him, and making sure he went bit-by-bit in small, manageable chunks. He apparently knew when-to-say-when, and was adept at knowing his maximum threshold. (Perhaps he was an unsuspecting pioneer of portion control, even).
Like our stomachs, our brains are constantly involved in a process of digestion. We are required to process gargantuan amounts of information, massive changes and constant stimulation — flooding our circuits and leaving us reeling. This can lead to some serious brain indigestion.
Unlike Mr. Eats-All, we can’t manufacture a perfectly controlled system of digesting the myriad of whopper’s that come into play and overload our minds. But there’s still something to learn from this example of culinary chaos:
1. We are capable of digesting difficult things. Even when pierced with life’s stingers, we are wired for resilience and have incredible capacity for healing — even when life delivers blows that puncture our dreams and disrupt our sense of stability and happiness. Life may be tough, but so are we.
2. We need to know our maximum threshold. Each day is filled with a never-ending to-do list. There’s only so much that can be digested within our daily span. Avoid trying to solve all of your problems at once, and instead carve out space to regroup. Know when to say when.
3. We benefit from setting strategic goals. It’s unlikely that we can control the heaping portions of stress we experience — they usually clobber us all at once, creeping over our wall of coping. We can learn to prioritize what needs our attention and break action steps into small bites. Step by step, chunk by chunk, we’ll get there.
4. Progress takes time. Rome wasn’t built in a day. And apparently, the airplane to fly there wasn’t eaten in a day, either. What makes us think we can work through challenges or meet our goals all in one fell swoop? If we rush, we might risk unfavorable outcomes. A sense of urgency can be helpful, but keep expectations realistic.
We all need a little mineral oil, or as Mary Poppins called for — a spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down. We all need help with digesting what’s at hand. Search for your remedies. Look around for internal resources (like humor, faith, creativity) and external resources (like trusted friends, colleagues or mentors) to help keep you from chronic brain indigestion. We can’t always change what we have to digest, but can focus on how we digest for greater health and happiness.
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GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
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