The backwards alphabet! 

Sounds so simple doesn't it? Reciting the alphabet backwards is much harder than it seems (well to me anyway, my wife is able to do it very easily, much to my frustration). But what is the point of doing it, apart from a mental workout? Sometimes when we are frustrated, annoyed or stressed we let our thoughts run away from us. Imagining things are worse than they are, predicting a bleak future and being totally absorbed in our thoughts and feelings. We go over the same ground again and again, often with no better insights, but just getting more frustrated and angry. Doing something to break that state can help us to "re-set" our brains and start to think more productively and realise that we are thinking in a negative and unrealistic way. So, saying the alphabet backwards is for most of us a fairly difficult mental challenge that we can use at any time to stop us in our tracks and get us back to thinking in a more rational way. 
Also, when we are in a stressful situation, we tend to react instinctively, basing our assumptions on our previous experiences. Lashing out either verbally or physically is rarely the best solution. Often, after the incident, we recognise that we should have reacted in a different way and we can see what we could have said or done that would have resulted in a better outcome. By giving yourself a couple of moments before you respond enables you to break the pattern of reacting with the first thought that pops into your head and instead perhaps think about the reasons for the situation you are in, how you might have contributed to it or what you can do to give you the best possible result. 
 
So the next time you are stressed, worried or anxious, with thoughts running constantly through your head or the next time you are in a challenging or stressful situation and about to lash out - stop yourself in your tracks by saying the alphabet backwards! 
 
 
 
 
 
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