Saturday, 7 May 2016

Put the Glass Down!

There's a classic self help parable doing the rounds on Facebook. It goes like this:

A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they'd be asked the "half empty or half full" question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: "How heavy is this glass of water?"

Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.

She replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn't change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes."

She continued, "The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything."

It’s important to remember to let go of your stresses. As early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don't carry them through the evening and into the night. Remember to put the glass down!

This struck me as somewhat ironic, as what I used to do, as early in the evening as I could, in order to put all those burdens down, was to pick up another damn glass!

And it works for a while, doesn't it? Pick up that glass of wine, and the glass of water that's been weighing down your arm all day is completely forgotten. Magic.

But, gradually, we find that we're spending so much time holding onto that glass of wine that our arm is aching more and more. And the glass of water hasn't actually gone away. We're holding that too, with the other hand.

Instead of one numb and paralysed arm we have two. Oh bugger.

So, eventually, we put down the glass of wine.

Initially things get even worse. All the feeling comes back to the arm that had been numb for so long, and it hurts.

Plus, without the glass of wine to distract us, all our attention is back on the damn glass of water in the other hand.

But, over time, the freed arm completely recovers, and we find new - and better - ways to put down the water: meditation, yoga, running, drinking hot chocolate, eating cake....

So, put down all the glasses my friends, and take up something more interesting instead :-)

Love SM x


  1. Yes! I needed this reminder myself. Trouble shutting off the busy switch too late in the evening. Tonight, I'll do nothing but watch a movie with the hubby. Good post SM!

  2. Great analogy. It's amazing how heavy drinking sometimes feels like drowning. It's so much easier to breathe without it.

  3. I've been worrying about some stupid building work we're having done. The more you think about it, the more compelling it becomes. Would have been worse drinking. Makes me feel worse when I compare it to the real pain and suffering I read in the blogs - I know I need to work on my sense of perspective. Putting the glass down literally and metaphorically. I have had this week off but its back to London tomorrow (although the Blackberry has been winking its little red light all week!). Never mind, just a couple of weeks until the Chelsea flower show - no Pimms this year mind and no hangover the following day. Hope you all have a peaceful Sunday.


  4. So true!

    The more I think about drinking or not drinking the more I obsess about it.

  5. Very true, I've put down my glass and am at the arm hurting stage. I think lots of people simply do not know how to switch off at the end of the day. I know I don't. It's not something we really talk about in real life. It's such an important skill to have, and I need it more than ever since having kids.

  6. What an awesome post- thank you! :)

  7. Love this! PERFECT analogy. I think this could possibly even be useful in helping 'outsiders' gain understanding. (If the desire to understand is present of course.) Thanks for posting!

  8. Nice blog post - as always. Happy Mothers Day (US holiday today) from this side of the pond SM. - Eeyore

  9. This is one of my favourite posts. Love it!