Guest Author - Kate Woods
Who doesnít know the timeless song 99 Bottles of Beer on The Wall? So many of us have at one time or another been caught singing it, whistling it, or humming it consciously or unconsciously and Iím no exception. Recently Iíve taken to changing the words a bit and using it as a coping tool. Let me expand on the explanation just a little more. I've read many articles by life coaches suggesting a person choose a power song and I think 99 Bottles of Stuff On The Wall is a good choice. Iíve found this little use of this long time favorite song very helpful and maybe if it sounds good to you and you try it, you might find it helpful too.
There are so many things that happen to a person in their lifetime that require coping skills to get through them Ė some are larger than life and some are just minor annoyances Ė but they require a reaction on our part if we are to get past them without becoming overwhelmed and paralyzed by negativity. For example if there is a thunderstorm raging outside your home and suddenly all of the electricity goes out your response as to how you weather the storm makes the difference between extreme discontentment or mild annoyance.
Now, unfortunately, some people use inappropriate coping tools such as too much alcohol, drugs, over-eating, compulsive shopping, abusive behavior, etc. In an effort to avoid using negative habits as coping tools it seems to me that it might be helpful to find and put into place not just a few ways to cope but an actual systematic approach to coping with annoyances and problems in life. Now how does any of this have anything to do with the song 99 Bottles of Beer on The Wall? Well, to answer that question I have to share a story with you. A few years back while I was trying to cope with the annual Tax Season of Discontent for the year, I was also trying to cope with a weight loss program and the terminal illnesses of both my own Mother and my husbands Mother. I remember that at that time I felt completely overwhelmed and kept thinking that I had at least a hundred things to do every day and I was never going to be able to cope with so many things at one time; but then I finished something on my list of many tasks and thought wow, now I only have 99 more thing to do, 99 more tasks to go, and I started to hum 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall, then I sang the verse only I changed it to 99 bottles of stuff to do on the wall, 99 bottles of stuff, if I handle one bottle of stuff today its enough and then thereís 98 bottles of stuff on the wall. I was very proud of myself when I came up with this new coping tool and have since found that I use it in many different scenarios because no matter what youíre working on or trying to do the first step is to tackle the first step, or as I now see it the first bottle on the chart.
So I made myself a chart of bottles and numbered them and labeled them and tackled them to handle whatever the goal happened to be. For weight loss each bottle represented a pound lost and a reason that I had been carrying that pound around in the first place. For example I sang 99 bottles of sludge on the wall, 99 bottles of sludge, you lose a pound and pass the bottle around and thereís now 98 bottles of sludge on the wall. If youíre trying to control stress it would be stress. If you are trying to complete many tasks you would list the task. I use this concept for tax returns during tax season by counting how many returns I have to complete and remove one bottle for each return I finish.
Now I realize that this is no different than many other kinds of to do lists but for me itís a little more fun because it gives me visual reinforcement that Iím making progress and anything that is accompanied by music is generally more enjoyable.
Taxing matters or things that tax our minds and our coping skills happen in all areas of life not just when dealing with taxes; so I hope that this method of coping is helpful to you my readers in dealing with taxing matters in your life :)
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