Posted by: mentalgardener | February 23, 2008

Are You a Tigger or an Eeyore?

Recently my father forwarded a link to me from Oprah’s website (Click Here To See It) for Dr. Randy Pausch’s “Last Lecture”. It was the abridged version of his 80 minute lecture found on YouTube (Click Here To See It). For those of us out there who think something is medically wrong with us, Dr. Pausch actually does. He is dying of Pancreatic Cancer that has since spread to his liver and spleen. His diagnosis is terminal and instead of being an Eeyore he is being a Tigger.

Eeyore is pessimistic, depressed, and deflated. He has no self confidence and doesn’t think he does anything right. On the other hand, Tigger is energetic, joyful, enthusiastic, and positive. All a Tigger wants to do is have fun. Dr. Pausch knows that he is going to die and he is seeking alternative medical treatment, but instead of wallowing in his imminent demise, he is having fun and living life to the fullest.

With anxiety we spend our time and energy fruitlessly by worrying about things we have no control over, things that are not real, etc… You need to switch your focus and be grateful. Grateful that there is nothing really wrong with you. Grateful for having another day on this earth. Grateful for all the people and things in your life. As he said in the lecture, “Gratitude is very simple, but powerful.” If we are focusing on having fun and living life, before you know it and look back, you will not be able to remember the last time you felt anxious.

There are times you might feel that your anxiety will never go away and it is during these times to remember that nothing lasts forever and this too shall pass. I know when I feel anxious I get very frustrated with myself and fell as if my anxiety is a wall too large to climb. Dr. Pausch spoke about very similar walls. He said that “brick walls are there for a reason: they let us prove how badly we want things.” If you didn’t care about your anxiety and wanting it to go away, there wouldn’t be any walls. Since no one enjoys being anxious, there are times when the walls are all around us. Next time you feel anxious try to shift your restless mind to appreciating the feeling. I know this sounds weird but stay with me for a minute. Appreciate the walls because they are a symbol of your drive and desire to be anxiety free. Be proud of yourself for how far you have come with anxiety. Recognize the hard work you put in and once you realize you just have to look around the wall, the anxiety will go away.

One of the things I have learned is that practice truly makes perfect, especially with anxiety. At first it seems next to impossible to change your thoughts or shift your mood or whatever you want to call it. Eventually you will see that it is possible to recognize the anxious feelings/thoughts coming on and move past them. The next time you feel anxious bring yourself back to Dr. Pausch’s lecture and remember that he DOES have something to worry about but he chooses to be a Tigger and have fun.

“We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.” – Dr. Randy Pausch

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