How bad is bad?

My husband is a good egg. We seem to be able to balance each other out pretty well. When one is down, the other picks the other one up. Unless we’re both flat. Then we drink and moan. Then hydrolite is ingested and we’re all good again.

I tend to have a habit of stressing. Just a little bit. Anyone who knows me and reads that will probably wet themselves laughing. Ok, so let’s rephrase- I am a freaking stress-head. One friend joked once that if I didn’t have something to stress over, I’d stress over not having anything to stress about. True dat. And when I stress, I catastrophise. That small snowball on the top of the hill? It gathers speed and becomes a freaking huge avalanche. And then we’re all dead and the mountain has no snow left. Grim stuff. You’d think after nearly a decade of teaching people how to stress less, I’d be a master? Erm not quite. And I’m not doing myself any favours for future clients. I promise I can help you! Just not myself!

how shit is shit penguin
Yep. Our shit ain’t that bad really, is it?


And then my husband comes up with the goods. We were chatting one morning, while I had a million things running through my head; tossing up whether to switch gears and go for a new job in a different area. He was listening to everything I had to say; and he simply replied “I can already hear what your answer is. Don’t talk yourself into something that doesn’t feel right”. Damn Skippy. When’d you get so zen and shit?

He reminded me, while I went through all the pros and cons of my current sitcho, that shit isn’t really that shit. For either of us. “Remember in retail? They used to say for every 10 good customer moments you have, you tend to only remember that 1 negative asshole”.  So freaking true. We do it with everything, don’t we? We could have a great run of compliments at work, and then the second someone criticises us, suddenly we’re thinking we’re shit and will get the sack and how the hell do we show our face again? Or our kids have been beautiful all week and then they have a day of being  total assholes and we’re pulling our hair out thinking we’re the worst parent in the world. Why is that? Why do we only focus on the small negatives, and let them overrun the multitude of positives?

how shit is shit ecard
A common phrase I hear in my brain. And I probably whinge and moan about to all and sundry.


It’s how we operate. Think about the news- death, destruction, terrorism, earthquakes, murder, health crises….. and happy little kitten story quickly thrown in at the end. It’s what we’re on the lookout for. Little kids I see tend to do this a lot these days. They’re so focused on the one bad thing at playtime that they forget all the awesome things that have gone on throughout the day.

So I try and help them to refocus. I get them to come up with three ‘green’ things each day. Green- like a traffic light green- helpful, gets us moving forward, gets us where we want to be. And we want to be in happyland. That place sounds like fun. Unlike the red zone. Where we’re stuck, can’t move, not going forward, backward, anywhere. It’s a bit dull. I also get them to make a ‘green diary’ where they can actually write or draw all the good things that go on, or note all the compliments and nice stuff they have. So that when the red zone gets to them, they can go and have a look at all the physical evidence they’ve collated that shows that things aren’t that shit. It’s super cute to see them get stuck into it, and to see them start to re-frame, from the unhelpful ‘red’ stuff to the more helpful ‘green’ stuff. Sometimes I think a lot of these kidlets could teach adults a thing or two.

how shit is shit charlie quote via tumblr
He’s a little bit clever, isn’t he? Via tumblr


And I think I might need to do that for myself too. Maybe all grown ups should carry their own green book? And remind themselves that yes, things can get shit, but it’s not all shit, all the time. And while it’s ok to have a pity party for a little bit, to get upset about that negative that happened, if we hold onto it, nothing is going to get better, and we’re not going to move past it all.


How do you deal with the negatives thrown at you? Do you have your own green book? Or a healthy stash of hydrolite like yours truly?

  • Fab post Sasha! I think we all need regular reminding to look on the bright side – a bit of positive reframing – especially on the days when it looks rather bleak. x

    • Thanks lovely! It can be hard sometimes, but so important to look for the good stuff, no matter how small! x

  • michelle barrington

    I eat when I am stressed and tend to not sleep enough – neither was doing my body any good. I got to the end of Raf’s first life after all his medical dramas and looked at myself and didn’t recognise myself. Now I still stress as much, it’s in my nature but I have set times for doing it. Hubby and I have a ‘meeting’ night where I stress out all the school stuff, development stuff, finance stuff and then unless it is an emergency he is off scot free for the rest of the week…ish. I am also trying to find better ways to cope with stress without a slurpee

    • That’s a great strategy sweets. I use it with kids all.the.time. We call it ‘worry time’. I give them half an hour where they can worry their little hearts out, and then after the half hour that’s it. Worries have to be written down in a notebook for the next worry time tomorrow. It’s a great way to show yourself you can control it- and look at you go! x

  • My counsellor showed me how to look for the positive in a given situation, it takes a bit of practice but it’s much more worthwhile to think of the best case scenario than the worst. No matter how crappo things get, I take great pleasure in finding the flip side. Sometimes, it takes a little while to see it, but when I do, it always puts things into a healthy sense of perspective. I love the idea of the green book – kind of like a gratitude journal with bells and whistles!

    • You are my flipside guru sweets!! It is a hard thing to get the hang of I think, takes a fair bit of hard work and gumption, but you’re so right, once you can do it, it is a life saver! x

  • I tend to carry all the stress in our household. Like, something will have occurred, I will weigh it up, understand the implications, tell Hubby and he will be all, “Well, there’s no point worrying about it…. ” Drives me nuts! How you can NOT worry about something when no-one else will?! I’ve lost count of the nights sleep I’ve lost running things through my mind. In the end, were they disasters? No. I love the green book idea – that’s brilliant.

    • Ha ha oh love. I get where you’re coming from entirely! But I’m finding these days that the stress is just wasted energy, doesn’t change the sitcho, doesn’t make me feel any better. And if no one else is going to worry about it, why should I carry it all? Time to shake it off! x

  • I love this. I think it’s so important to try and remember the good things. I think I saw it on Oprah once, that the more you can appreciate what’s right with your life, the less the bad things seem to feel. Every time I’m feeling a bit shit or a bit sorry for myself, I try to stop and think of what I have that I’m grateful for. This usually leads to me thinking about all the people who are worse off than me and that makes me feel equally sad. Perhaps I don’t quite get it….

    • P.S This is a good reminder after getting caned by two women on my Facebook page on the weekend. It REALLY upset me. I got dozens of really nice and supportive comments, but I spent hours obsessing over these two nasty ones. Focussing on the good now!! xxx

      • Honey I’m so sorry you copped that shit. AGAIN. And you know what? It’s THEIR issue, not yours. Sadly those nasties were the ones only looking at the negatives. Can you imagine what their lives must be like? I’ll be sure to slap the green zone back into you anytime honey. x

  • I always look for the silver lining. I know – totally Pollyannaish but if I look back at pretty much every bad situation… there is something… no matter how small.. there is some good that came out of it. I remind myself of that xx

    • Oh lovely, you are just da bomb! That’s the perfect way to look at things, because no matter what ups and downs you face, you know there’s something more there. And that is just wonderful. Love it. x

  • I am by nature a glass half full kind of girl, so negatives I can usually handle or maybe I am just full of myself. And the green book idea is fabulous. x

    • I love your outlook lady! Glass half full is da bomb. I must admit, I need a bit of practice to remain glass half full sometimes, but it’s a more bearable way to see things! x

  • Jo

    Im a stress head too! And when I’m stressed I don’t sleep and drink more. No good! Farmer is the best sound board, he calms me down and brings me back to Earth.

    • Bahahahaha I’m the worst cheerleader there is! 😛 But thanks lovely. It’s hard to stop the stress train sometimes, isn’t it? x

  • I do this, too, and my husband is very good at give me gentle reminders that not everything is awful. I know that is my habit and when I feel it starting, I work really hard to stop. It doesn’t always work, though, and there are days (or nights) when I know it’s all going to be downhill from there.

    • I know just how you feel, lovely! I do the exact same stuff. I think we’re not always going to get it right, but if we recognise it, and can try to nip it in the bud sooner rather than later, then we’re doing alright. x

  • Sara Brewster

    such a good post Doc – learning how to spend less time in my red zone and fill up my “green diary” was an absolute game changer for me. It’s tough to teach your brain to think differently to what you always have (and to what society pretty much pushes you towards thinking like) – but it’s definately do-able – and soooooo worth it! Keep spreading the good word chick! xoxo

    • Honey, you are like a resident expert in this stuff! I love so much how you’ve worked so hard, and you’re positively beaming right now- I can see it through your words. I’m in awe of you. xx

  • I love the idea of a green book!! The negativity always seems to drown out the good and it can get hard to see past it sometimes. My husband is also a good balance for me and we lift each other up when the other one has had a bit of a shit day/week. We also try and keep work talk for our drive home (we carpool) which stops any negative crap that happened at work from poisoning our happy little home. Once we come over the last hill before our house is when the work talk stops and we mentally shift into home mode.

    • That’s such a good tactic!! I totes have a point on the way home to flip the switch too. Doesn’t always work though ha ha!! It is so ingrained in our society these days to look at the bad. No wonder we drink so much! x

  • When I spiral into a stress hole I try to think about it as shovelling back in the dirt to save myself. So, taking time out for a cup of tea and nothingness = a shovel of dirt. 10 minutes of meditation = a shovel of dirt. Kind of life a green book but much dirtier. LOL!

    • I like that a lot, love! I might even use that with some of the boys I work with…. they love dirt ha ha! x

  • Green things! Genius way to look at it. Love it.

  • Great post. I confess the Monty Python song ‘Always look on the bright side’ is on frequent rotation in my head. It’s whacky words often help me through. Thanks for sharing x