My friend Mark was recently bemoaning the fact that, without warning, he became a cardiac patient.
While sitting at his desk he had become aware of a mild feeling of discomfort in his chest.
Naturally, like any intelligent male, he ignored it.
It didn’t go away.
A short while later a co-worker entered his office, took one look at him and told him that he looked like $#!+.
He ignored him.
About two hours later, by which time the sensation in his chest had progressed from discomfort to acute pain he called his wife and asked her what she thought he should do.
She told him to hang up the phone and call 911. Immediately.
He ignored her.
His next memory was of opening his eyes and looking into the face of a young paramedic who was helping lift him from the floor of his office on to a gurney.
That day Mark experienced this first ever ambulance ride and shortly thereafter learned he had had a heart attack.
He was released from hospital a few days later and sent home with a list of instructions and do’s and dont’s that marked the beginning of his new life.
And he wasn’t happy about any of this.
Why did this happen to him? He was young (44), he was in relatively good shape (give or take the 30 or so pounds he had gained in the past 10 years), he ate a (sometimes) healthy diet and generally led a (relatively) stress-free life.
And suddenly he was a cardiac patient.
Not just a cardiac patient but a terrified cardiac patient who now felt that even the slightest tingling sensation in his chest signaled the beginning of his next, and probably fatal, heart attack.
And while he was still young, still in relatively good shape and still ate a relatively healthy diet, his newfound fear was raising his stress levels higher than anything he had ever experienced before.
Mark realized that unless he could apply the Habit of Reframing to this recent experience he was priming himself for a life of worry and anxiety.
The Habit of Reframing provides us the opportunity of viewing any experience in our life through a fresh, new lens and by so doing, we can shift our perspective and let the experience illuminate a new meaning for us.
Rather than resent this life-changing event Mark placed a frame of gratitude around it. This allowed him to view his heart attack as a gift, a wake-up call if you wish, to evaluate his lifestyle and modify it in a way that would substantially enhance both the quality and length of his life.
The Habit of Reframing allowed him to heighten his gratitude when he realized that he’d been granted a second chance at life – an opportunity so often denied victims of heart attacks.
Mark used the Habit of Reframing to view his heart attack as a journey of discovery and set out to learn everything he could about living a heart-healthy lifestyle.
He made subtle changes to generate huge results. His office is on the fourth floor of a building and he started using the stairs to get there.
Instead of buying lunch from one of the food fair vendors, he began bringing his own salads to work.
He took short breaks in the mornings and afternoons to regulate his stress levels by quietly sitting back comfortably and meditating.
And most importantly, “I realized what was important in life and developed deeper love and appreciation for my family and my friends. I constantly tell them how much I love them because I have learned to appreciate every single day as an invaluable gift and they are the blessings that make my life so wonderful.”
Mark has taught himself to use the Habit of Reframing to see the learning opportunity for personal growth that resides in every one of our life experiences.
Many, many years ago Epictetus, a Greek philosopher wrote: “People are not disturbed by things, but by the view they take of them”.
I think he was on to something.
Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.
P.S. My company, Strategic Pathways, this week introduced our newest Personal Coaching experience called Boot Camp for Your Brain. Please click here and take a peek at our Ebrochure
– I had the privilege of doing my first ever radio interview a few weeks ago. The topic of the interview was my book, Life Sinks or Soars – the Choice is Yours. Here is a link to my interview.
Shortly thereafter I did a second radio interview recently. Here is the link.
Ten days ago I did my third radio interview.
I would love to hear your thoughts, ideas or suggestions once you have listened to the interviews. Please contact me at email@example.com and share your thoughts
– My book Life Sinks or Soars – the Choice is Yours now has its very own website. Please visit us at www.lifesinksorsoars.com and let me know what you think.