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The backpack analogy

This video shows the ‘backpack-analogy’ to illustrate the importance of unpacking your bag of stress as a first step to discover what to do with it.
So the question, is what is stress and how to deal with it? What clients usually tell me is that they don’t know how they feel, they don’t know what they want, they don’t know how to live their lives. And the only thing they are sure of is that they carry a big load with them. So important is that you need to see and need to learn how to unpack your load. That’s not very hard to do. You ask yourself, what is asking for my attention right now? What is keeping me busy? Where does my mind go to automatically? What maybe do I not want to think about? And then you basically unpack the load.
The first thing that comes up is I have a test tomorrow. And I don’t like it. So I put it over there. How does this make me feel? How would my life be if this problem would be solved? It would feel better. Is there anything else which is bothering me? Yeah, the telephone call I have to make. I take it, take some time to think about it, to reflect upon it. Like, OK, this scares me. OK. How would my life be if this problem would have been taken care of? And again, I ask myself, what is asking for my attention? If these problems would be solved, would there be anything else? And I go like, OK.
I had a difficult conversation with a colleague this morning. I put it over here. So basically, I unpack the bag. So now I’m more free of this. I can take a look at it, and I can ask myself, how do I want to deal with it? How does it feel? Is it too big? Is it too much? But I feel lighter because it’s not so much that these problems own me. I can now feel like I am the owner. So that helps me in learning how to deal with these kinds of stressors. So please, sometimes unpack your bag. Thank you.

In this video student psychologist Bart Oosting uses the ‘backpack-analogy’.

This analogy explains that you can experience stress like a load of stones on your back that you carry with you, without taking time to look at it. The advice is to unpack that bag, and take some time to look at all the different problems. By doing this you will get a better view of the different things that bother you and you can differentiate yourself from your problems. This could make it possible for you to make a change by starting to ask yourself “What can I do with this problem?”.

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