As I’ve said before, fear doesn’t give a damn whether a perceived threat is indeed life threatening or not. But being scared of everything isn’t a way to live. So what to do?
In SuperBetter (a book about increasing resilience from a gameful perspective) the author explores the important distinction between perceiving circumstances as a challenge versus a threat.
It’s a fairly simple change in attitude or perspective. A necessary starting point is to identify the threat. Get clear on that. Then, reframe the situation as a challenge – which by definition is anything that “provokes our desires to test our strengths and abilities and that gives us the opportunity to improve them”. And crucially, decide whether you accept the challenge or not. Once accepted, you’re now all in voluntarily and ready to “rise up” to the challenge.
See the difference? A threat is something that’s happening TO you. A challenge is an opportunity – perhaps something happening FOR you. True, most of us are facing uninvited challenges with chronic issues looming over our lives. But I’m guessing that within your lifestyle, there are some obstacles that could benefit from a gameful attitude of reframing the situation as a challenge.
I’ve been doing this in some areas of my life and find that it brings out a more playful side of me (even though the issue is serious). I’ve also looked at some obstacles/problems and decided not to accept those challenges at the moment. This is another form of relief.
According to the McGonigal, the research shows this mental shift impacts your biological responses (reducing some of the fight/flight reactions) and sets the stage to look for resources (both internally and externally) to address the issue – making it an adaptive rather than a maladaptive response.
Pretty cool eh? ~Z