Ever heard of 'frog in the pot syndrome' (sometimes called 'boiling frog effect')? In a bizarre experiment in the 19th century, scientists found that if they put a frog into a pot of boiling water, it would immediately jump straight out - surprise, surprise! However, if they put a frog into a pot of cold water and set the water to boil slowly, the frog would stay in the pot and boil to death. These researchers hypothesised that the frog was able to adjust to each slow incremental change in temperature without realising that the situation had become dire. Although this experiment is questionable on SO many levels, it’s a great metaphor for life.
How would you respond if you were suddenly thrust into the pot that is your life as it is currently: this relationship, this job, this house, this body, with these friends, etc. - would you quickly jump straight out?
Are you genuinely happy and satisfied with your life, or are you slowing boiling to death (metaphorically of course)?
Most of us are too busy, or too afraid, to take the time to really look at our lives in a systematic way. Often we just keep adjusting to each incremental change and don’t realise how far off track have become. Chaos, boredom, and disappointment all become “normal” and we forget that life doesn’t have to be that way. We begin to just accept life as it comes. Grasp the ‘accidental joys’ along the way and continue living unconsciously, waiting for the next one to show up…but imagine being able to create moments, rather than waiting and hoping for them to happen. Successful people do just that, they live their lives on purpose - with intention.
Here are a few journal prompts to help you get more present and notice where some small intentional changes might make a big impact:
People, places or things that energise me...(how often do you spend time here?)
People, places or things that drain/deplete me... (how could you spend less time to here?)
Are your current habits taking you closer to achieving your goals or further away?"
A habit I will focus on cultivating/breaking this week is...(pick just one). Why is this one important?
Things I'd like to learn more about...Places I'd like to explore...
Friends/family I've been meaning to catch up with...
An accomplishment I'm proud of...
An opportunity or experience I'm grateful for...
Awareness is the first step...action is the next. Small actions build on each other.
Take some time to work out your next small step :)
DEBORAH FARRELL (MCounPsych)