I was chatting with a friend last week when we happened upon the subject of drama… you know, the kind that seems to consume a pretty decent part of your day… your interactions and conversations…AND…. your thoughts.
There’s something about the moment when you realize how crazy your life has gotten, that changes you forever.
Thing is, me and drama, we go way back.
As a mother of twin tweens (and wife of 20+ years), drama has become synonymous with… life.
In that one casual conversation I realized that everything In my world is up for exaggeration; meals, clothes, chores, homework, dishes (oh don’t get me started on dishes). Every request is delivered with comic and tragic notes, every response plays out like a production.
Okay so maybe I’m being a little dramatic…
But clearly this little epiphany has been a long time in coming.
And it was only when I took a moment to own the drama that I could see and feel the effect it has on my mind, body and life. Here’s what I saw…
- A constant low-level anxiety, that feels constricting and oppressive
- Slowed digestion and fogginess in the mind and body
- Communications that feel a little strained (less than unnatural) with that “walking on eggshells” vibe
- Disconnection from real feelings, desires and commitments, to the point of being indecisive and complacent
- Feeling agitated and pissed off a lot more than I’d like to.
Not a pretty picture. To say the least.
Technically, what drama has created in my world is… burn out.
And it make sense too when you consider the biochemistry of drama…
What’s behind the curtain – The physiology of drama
In many ways drama is a heightened experience of the present moment that operates just like the adrenaline fuelled stresses involved in the fight or flight response. And because of that, It can cause your endocrine system to work overtime creating the hormones your body needs to turn down your “non-essential” functions like digestion and rational thought in order to get you ready to fight whatever’s coming at you or run like hell. All good except when what’s coming at you is your own slightly inflated idea that YOUR life is totally unfair, or that your kids, spouse, co-workers, AND The World are totally out to destroy you!
We’ve all been there. The struggle FEELS real, and to your body… it is.
But if you’re like any of the overly busy people dragging themselves through modern life, your adrenal system is likely struggling as it is to keep up with the to do list… from a month ago. So adding drama to the mix could very well be the last straw.
The gorgeous thing is that you have a choice! You don’t have to let drama run your show, because YOU can show IT the door.
Bringing down the curtain
So here are some simple ways to… let it go. That’s it, no big production, no twelve-step program or 30 day challenge. Dealing with your drama is one of those things that’s best done… without drama. You just need to do two things…
- Become aware of it
- Make up your mind to drop it;
And yes, you will be tempted to pick it back up. So when that happens, try this:
- Take a deep breath – Yep, just that simple. When you start to feel those familiar feelings of stress and anxiety (tightness in the neck, chest, shoulders or throat), it’s a sign that drama is either unfolding or around the corner. If you can bring yourself into the present moment it opens up an opportunity to…
- Just say no – Drama is drama because we allow it to be. Very often we fly in the face of who we know we are and choose crazy (I do it all the time). What would different if, in that moment you created by taking a deep breath, you simply say to yourself.. “not going to do this today”. Who could you be by making a simple and powerful choice to say NO to drama?
- Realize it’s all in your head – How many stupid arguments have you had about, oh I don’t know vacuuming the floor, who ate the last cookie, or whatever other crazy issues we let ourselves get caught up in. In the middle of the madness, yeah it feels real AND relevant, but if you barely scratch the surface you can usually see that it’s gotten to where it has because of how YOU think about it. Realizing that drama isn’t a thing until you make it that way gives you immediate power to drop it and pick up love, compassion and a lot less stress instead.
- Be like water – This is one of my favorite Bruce Lee quotes. And it’s SO spot on when it comes to dealing with drama. Drama often comes about out of our need to assert ourselves, show our strength or make ourselves heard or felt. It can be a bit like trying to put out a candle with a firehose. One of the key things to understand is that like water there are many ways to express ourselves. And more often than not our ability to shift our perspective, flow and yield in situations where we’re met with challenge or resistance, will lead us to greater freedom and ease in our lives.
- Come from love – How different would your experience of drama be if you could wrap your arms around it in a loving embrace. In many ways drama arises out of a lack of authentic open connection. It’s our fear of rejection dressed up in sequins and a feathered headdress (big, bold, and distracting, but ultimately just window dressing). Replacing the fear with love, makes the drama unnecessary. It takes the edge off and allows us to see through the distraction into the hearts of the people we surround ourselves with, flinging the door to acceptance and connection wide open.
- Give yourself permission – As strange as it seems, sometimes we create drama because we think that’s our only option. When you’ve been reacting to a situation in the same way for years (i.e. with overexcitement, outrage, disgust or aggravation), you not only forget that there are other ways to come at a situation, ways that are far more in-tune with who you are and how you feel. You also struggle to embody a more realistic way of being, perhaps because… you’re not giving yourself permission to change. Realize that stepping past the crazy could be a simple matter of believing it’s okay to.
What’s in it for you…
The most important thing to know about letting go of drama is that it’s not always easy. Like anything worth doing it’s a practice that will pay you back in spades, but that starts by taking the tiniest first step.
My quest for drama free (okay maybe “drama reduced”) living has started with a family discussion and commitment to drama free mornings (school days at least a couple days each week). And I can tell you that it’s making a difference not just to me, but also to my husband and kids.
So if you’re wondering where to start, start with YOU, and let them know about it. Invite those around you to participate in whatever way speaks to them and acknowledge them for choosing calm over crazy, because when it comes down to it, that’s the healthiest choice we can make!
I’d LOVE to hear about the drama you go through/create on a daily basis (maybe cause it’ll help me to put mine in perspective). I’d also LOVE to hear about how you’re dealing with it. So PLEASE share your thoughts and experiences in the comments!!