Not My Banana

Over the last year, my human, Annie, has been dealing with a lot of uncertainty. Her husband, Dave, was suffering from a health issue that resulted in intermittent attacks of severe pain, but his surgery date kept getting pushed back.


Annie felt helpless, unable to do anything to help, but also experiencing a high level of anxiety about the situation, which meant she had trouble sleeping.


She knew there was nothing she could do about the situation, but that didn’t make her any better able to let go of her anxiety about it.


She talked to her therapist, who pointed out that her stressed state was leading to unhelpful behaviour that was actually making the situation worse, because it was making things harder for Dave, who was the one suffering the health issue, after all.


So, Annie worked on the idea that taking no action was actually a positive choice.


But what really turned the whole situation around was a conversation she had with her best friend one day. A few years ago, Annie read The Chimp Paradox by Professor Steve Peters. It’s a really useful book that helps you understand the different influences in your brain that lead you to engage in certain behaviours. Annie finds it very helpful to be able to talk about the ‘chimp’ in her brain, which is the aspect that tends to over-react to situations and act irrationally.


During the conversation, Annie and her friend came up with a metaphor for choosing to take no action in situations – the chimp can put it down because it’s not his banana!


This proved to be an excellent visualisation, which has led Annie to use a frequent new catchphrase – “Not My Banana!”


She even knitted a cute little banana to help her remember.


So, whenever you find yourself in a stressful situation and there’s nothing you can do to make it better, take a moment to think. Is it your banana? If not, can you put it down and walk away, making a positive choice not to take any action and release the feeling of anxiety that goes along with such inaction?


Give it a try and let me know how you get on, or if there’s anything in your life you’d like my thoughts on!


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