This week has been an emotional week with lots to think about. We almost lost my dad and I have a sister in crisis. All my siblings rushed to town to be with my dad and support those of us that were doing the heavy lifting (taking care of dad). Family is great – but when you are all together under stressful situations it can become pretty intense.

What do you do to keep things in perspective when life gets crazy and stressful?

Do you feel the rage, defensiveness or urge to be right rising in you days or even weeks after you were confronted with a situation. I honestly have had conversations in my mind that have played over and over for years – making sure the other person understood what had happened and why I feel justified, or justifying why I did or did not do something out of fear – it’s crazy.

So What do you do?

5 x 5 x 5 Method

A couple of years ago I learned about the 5 x 5 x 5 method for dealing with small and even large annoyances.  How does it work?

Well, if you find yourself annoyed by something or someone try this little trick.  Ask yourself “will this matter in 5 days?” Depending on what it is the answer may be yes – so if it is yes ask the next question.

“Will this matter in 5 months ?”

Once again if the answer is yes ask yourself: “Will this matter in 5 years?”

This helps put that annoyance into perspective. It’s a reality check. Someone cuts you off in traffic how long are you going to give that annoyance your focus.

An old friend hurts your feelings – how much power and attention are you going to give them?

There really are very few things that you can honestly say will really matter 5 years from now.

Power of 5 x 5 x 5

The power of this exercise is that it takes you out of the immediate emotion and puts you into the position of your “future” self – it gives you power to look at the situation in a more objective manner. It gives you the power to let things go – immediately instead of rehearsing them over and over in your mind.

The beauty of this exercise is that you can also use it to get past your fears. For example if you have a fear of speaking in front of others or walking up and starting a conversation with someone new – do this exercise. Will it matter in 5 days, 5 months, 5 years? The answer may be a resounding yes – it could change your life.

One last example – if you choose to change something about yourself – get personal training for better fitness, hire a life coach – Will it matter in 5 days? If you hired a personal trainer you are probably hating life – you can’t walk! But what about 5 years from now? It will probably be the best decision you ever made!

This 5x5x5 reality check yanks you out of the emotion of the moment and throws you into the future – it gives you a new perspective that allows you to get out of your head and quite honestly get out of your own way so you can see yourself from the long term perspective. It give you the power to act on those things that matter to you most.