The age old saying... 'It is the last straw that breaks the Camel's back' is at the very foundation of the Little Jackal Trap.When we experience somethingAn event, obstacle, problem, issue or crisis. that leaves severe emotional and psyche distressSevere stress, anxiety, depression, fears, helplessness, frustration, …etc. , we deliberately set some time aside to purposefully deal with it… we talk about it, receive counseling about it, sometimes therapy, counseling, we reflect on, digest and/or assimilate the distress. We “reposition” ourselves and re-evaluate our present stance in life (i.e. calibrate our GPS) to purposefully adapt, tweak or change our believes, attitudes and habits in order to deal with the residue of the trauma that we have experienced. Thus, we purposefully confront, deal with, accept and come to terms with what has happened in an effective manner …well… at least most of the time.

Unfortunately though, life is full of little irritations and we experience plenty of the so called “insignificant frustrations” on a daily basis. The prolonged stresses that consistently result from the little jackals of life, frequently has a much more profound impact on our psyche, than the one or two actual traumatic events in our lives.

Most professionals and many people are often up and arms about this statement. The reason why a traumatic event is called traumatic, is because it leaves deep emotional scars that can take years - even decades - to heal and return life to “normal” again. Of course this is true… and isn't disputed at all, BUT this isn't the actual culprit or menace, especially when it comes to our daily emotional well being. The real culprit that weakens and drain our emotional energy, is the many little jackals that we are confronted with on a daily basis. Leaving us with very little or no energy in reserve to productively deal with the really dramatic events in our lives.

Daily traveling as a comparative example...

We waste much of our precious fuels (i.e. energies) to diddle mindlessly through life on a daily basis (without regularly refueling) and when the time comes and we are suddenly forced to unexpectedly travel a considerable distance… we only have enough fuel left to cover some of the required distance and get stuck or we are unable to move an inchWe “freeze-up”, cease, panic or experience severe shock. . To prevent this from happening to us, the solution - indeed - is very simple… regularly refuelIntentionally get rid of life's many little jackals! your car on a frequent basis and maintain a level of preparedness (i.e. being proactive) so that you have enough resources (i.e. energy) to your disposal to use when the - proverbial - paw-paw actually hits the fan.

Sadly, we are conditioned and collectively belief that we only need to pay attention to major disruptive events in our lives and we are taught to use some kind of a stress barometer, which measures and rank the severity of events. Collectively it was decided, what the critical stress level should be and only those events above a certain “critical stress level” are worthy of our attention. Those events below the level, we tend to ignore and hope that it will ultimately shrivel-up and dissapear in due time. Using a Stress Barometer isn't such a bad thing in itself - in actual fact - it is quite a helpful tool, which allows us prioritize and deal with life's many up's and down's more constructively and productively.

On the other hand, most of the little jackals of lifeIrritating noises, peak traffic, rude drivers, an alarm clock that didn't go of in time, inflation, loosing an important telephone number, a scratch on your car, intrusive people, …etc. are well below the critical stress level and we tend to “ignore” or “suppress” their existence. It happens mainly because these events are “insignificant” and doesn't warrant that we fuss about them… not for to long anyway. BUT, as possible stressors they do not disappear all together. They gradually increment in little bits of suppressed stress that acts as a kind of “pressure cooker” storage (i.e. our limbic system) and when the heat of stress is suddenly turned-up, it is most likely that we can expect an uncontrollable “eruption” of emotions and feelings… and losing it altogether.

Something to consider...

We can safely assume that all the energies to our every day disposal can be expressed as a 100% at any given time. Lets assume - for argument sake - that you require ±20% of your daily energies to keep your bio-computer running smoothly (i.e. your breathing, digestion, heart beat, …etc.). Further more - lets assume - that you regularly experience heavy traffic on your way to and from work, which accounts for another ±10% of energy usage per day… twice a day and it leaves a stress residue of ±1% per day… after a relaxed and peaceful 8 hours of sleep. This “ignored” stress residue gradually accumulate to a ±20% daily energy usage over - for example - a month's time. In other words you eventually need ±20% of your daily energies, just to “cope” with your suppressed stress residue.

Suddenly, your suspicions of the past couple of months materialize; and you lose your well paid job, because of a BEE initiative, accompanied by an unexpected loss of 90% of your income. You - now - immediately require at least 85% of your energies to cope with this traumatic event. Sadly though, you only have 60% of your daily energies left to your disposal for dealing with the crisis and you still short another 25%. As a result of bio-computer “maintenance” (20%) and already “build up traffic stress residue” (another 20%). Sadly, we cannot borrow energy on credit, nor store it in “batteries”… we can only “consume” energy that is currently to our disposal.

Due to a bio-computer malfunction (a result of accumulated stress residue) you suddenly need 125% of your daily energy quota, but are only able to generate a 100% energies. The best short term solution is to momentarily re-channel (i.e. shift) the “additionally” required 25% energy from a less critical energy cycle (e.g. the immune system) to aid us in our hour of need.

When this “energy shortage” - as described in very simplistic terms - happens once in a blue moon, no harm done. We are more than adequately equipped to deal with it elegantly. However, when this “energy shortage” occur frequently over a prolonged period of time (e.g. 20 to 30 years)… something got to give in the end. If that happens, our options are frequently limited to a physical burnout, a mental meltdown and/or spiritual collapse.

In context of the above explanation, it - hopefully - is understandable why the “Little Jackal Trap” is far more damaging to our overall well being, than a specific dramatic or traumatic event that only occur once or twice in our life's. We are conditioned to deal with “serious events”, while simultaneously we tend to “ignore” the many petty frustration of life that accompany change.

What we must realize, is that - quite often - we can do very little about dramatic or traumatic life events that we are confronted with (life is a b&%$h!); but we can do a lot about the little irritations and frustrations of life, providing we are aware of them and willing to act in time… and SMART-ly.

Proactive stress management strategies for our overall well being, isn't to plan and prepare for a possible crisis (an unstable situation of extreme danger or difficulty), because we - might suspect - but we cannot predict what will happen, when, where and how… that is why it is being called a crisis in the first place. Therefore, following a proactive stress management strategy implies that we should consistently get rid of the Little Jackals in our life's, and when doing so, free-up most of our energy resources to successfully confront and productively deal with a crisis when it happens.

Still not convinced?...

Do the following simple experiment yourself…

Slightly rub your left hand with your right hand. Not really painful, frustrating or an irritation. NOW… you continue with this subtle movement for the next 10 days. What is happening to your levels of irritation? Frustration and stress?… how well will you be able to emotionally take care of everyday responsibilities, let alone dealing with a crisis? YES, little jackals do accumulate and can be a real disruptive stressor in the end with a “life of its own”.

How can we possibly deal with the “Little Jackal Trap” effectively?… simple, by frequently applying the Glass Principle, adopting and deliberately integrate a “10-90% Principle attitude” for our daily living and to remain keenly aware of the Butterfly Effect.

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  • Last modified: 19 August, 2018 @ 1:55pm
  • by Jan Viljoen