Once, a psychology professor walked around his classroom while teaching stress management principles to his students. As he raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the typical “glass half empty or glass half full” question. Instead, the professor asked, “How heavy is this glass of water I’m holding?”
The students started to shout out guesses–ranging anywhere from 4 ounces to one pound.
The professor replied, “The absolute weight of this glass isn’t what matters while I’m holding it. It all depends on how long I hold it."
"If I hold it for a minute or two, it’s fairly light. If I hold it for an hour straight, its weight might make my arm ache a little. If I hold it for a day straight, my arm will likely cramp up and feel completely numb and paralyzed with pain, making me feel miserable and unable to think about anything aside from the pain that I’m in."
"In all of these cases, the actual weight of the glass will remain the same, but the longer I keep a hold of it, the heavier it feels to me and the more burdensome it is to hold."
The class understood and shook their heads in agreement.
The professor continued to say, “This glass of water represents the worries and stresses that you carry around with you every day. If you think about them for a few minutes and then put them aside, it’s not a heavy burden to bear. If you think about them a little longer, you will start to feel the impacts of the stress. If you carry your worries with you all day, you will feel powerless, it will stop you from doing anything else until you let them go."
No matter what happens during the day, as early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don’t carry them through the night and into the next day with you. If you still feel the weight of yesterday’s stress, it’s a strong sign that it’s time to put the glass down.