When something bad happens, such as a serious diagnosis, our gut reaction is often to ask “Why?”
“Why did this happen?”
“Why did this happen TO ME?”
It certainly is normal to ask questions like these; after all, we need to understand what has happened to us in a context we can understand.
Although it may be normal, it’s not a good idea for a several reasons.
First of all, there usually is no answer. You can ask and wonder until you are blue in the face but you will never get to an answer, and even if you do you will start to wonder if the answer you have is REALLY the answer. Worse yet, the fact that there is no answer will cause you to keep asking over and over. It will be on your mind and the more you think about it, the more intense will be your need to know.
Second, when you become obsessed with “why” you become obsessed with blame, and nothing good can come of that because with blame comes hatred and/or resentment.
This entire game of why-blame, why-blame is very stressful and takes a lot of energy. When you are dealing with a serious challenge you need all the energy you’ve got; is this a good way to spend it? I think not.
So the third reason asking “why” is a bad idea is that it distracts you from what is really important: dealing effectively with the problem.
So here’s the stress-reducing tip for today: don’t ask “why” and don’t look back. Ever. It is what it is, so look ahead to how you are going to handle it.
Think of it as a gift to yourself.
This article is one in a series on coping strategies for patients and caregivers alike. For more thoughts on caregiving, coping strategies, reducing stress, and just plain fun subscribe to my free monthly newsletter at www.CaringAndCoping.com Need a speaker for an upcoming event? I have a program that will knock your socks off! www.ThePPP.org/speaking/#handle