There’s no question that we live in challenging times. Between our daily to do lists, the stress and anxiety that has become the norm rather than the exception for many of us, and the state of the world in general, we all need to take even better care of ourselves than ever. And one thing that can help you navigate life better is a buffer.
Merriam Webster defines a buffer as “something that serves as a protective barrier.” Creating a psychological buffer for yourself will help you weather the storms of daily life with less anxiety, remain calmer, and have more time for the things that really matter to you.
There is no better explanation of what a buffer can do for you than Victor Frankl’s famous quote:
Between stimulus and response there is a space.
In that space is our power to choose our response.
In that response lies our growth and our freedom.
How do you create a buffer?
- Underschedule your life. Deliberately schedule open times in your day to give yourself breaks, and resist the urge to fill them when things come up.
- Say no more often. Resist the urge to say “yes” to every request that comes your way. If you find it hard to say “no,” practice saying “let me get back to you on that.” That phrase in itself creates enough of a buffer to give you time to think about whether you really want, need, or should do what you were asked to do.
- Create visual reminders to create buffers for yourself. Print out the Victor Frankl quote and post it near your desk, in the kitchen, on your computer monitor, or wherever you find that you’re most likely to overcommit your time without thinking about it first.
- Create a news buffer. Be mindful about how you consume news. Don’t believe everything that scrolls across your newsfeed. Find news sources that you trust. Don’t follow the news all day long – it’s rarely good news, and indiscriminately consuming headlines will damage your spirit.
Of course, cats make wonderful buffers. They constantly remind us that it’s important to take breaks, they offer unconditional love no matter how busy life is, and they provide instant stress relief. So thank your little buffers today and ask them to hold you accountable to create more buffers in your life!