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You Can Do Anything for Two Minutes: 5 Strategies to Cope With Distress


Many years ago I asked my super-fit friend Steph how she could possibly hold a plank for two minutes. At that time, two minutes seemed like an eternity to hold any type of pose, never mind the shake-inducing & torturous plank position.

Her reply? You can do anything for 2 minutes.

I also realized that in her own life, she had used that philosophy for things even more painful than a two minute plank.

I believe her. You can do anything for 2 minutes.

The temporary things in life will change or end.

My clients (and most likely my friends and family) hear that a lot: you can do anything for two minutes, two hours, 6 weeks, or 6 years. Sometimes when we have pain- whether it's spiritual, psychological or physical- we believe it will never stop or change. This is not only inaccurate, but often limiting. Changing our thoughts and perspective can help.

1. TRUTH: Most everything, including our pain, is temporary and changeable. Anxious feelings, anger, and loss, all change. These states ebb and flow and sometimes completely remediate. We often lose our perspective because we believe the acute thought or feeling to be permanent- often despite any evidence.

2. Since everything changes, we are capable of change. Sometimes, when things go unfavorably for a long period of time, we believe they are unchangeable. Counselors see people totally change their lives. It is more than possible, it happens everyday.

3. It starts with a decision to recognize the ability to endure. Mindfully choosing to face our demons, hurt and pain allow us to control our response. We may not always be able to control our circumstances, but we can work to control our response.

4. Face pain, change and fear piece by piece- and when it's really tough- moment to moment.

Most of us become completely overwhelmed with too many demands, and what we feel we need to do and be. When having a hard time coping, take it piece by piece, or even moment to moment. Focus on each element of what you are doing, and move to the next. One moment, minute, day or year at a time.

5. Don't predict and prepare for a a future that may never happen. Our distress is often fueled by what might or might not happen. We play out anxious scenarios in our mind that lead us away from solutions. Instead of focusing on the present moment, we focus our needed energy on planning for things that may never happen. Instead of fortunetelling, consider staying in the moment to problem-solve solutions.

You can do anything for two minutes.

You can do anything for an hour.

You can do anything for a day.

You can do anything for a week.

You can do anything for a month.

You can do anything for a year.

You can do anything for a decade.

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