A lot of times when we feel overwhelmed, at our worst, or generally feeling stuck, it can feel hard to get out of. In this state we tend to use vague language or all-or-nothing language. It’s easy to do without realizing it. This self-talk may feel like our only option, or we may not even realize we are doing it. When these feelings and/or situations happen, something that we can do is check in with ourselves with a scaling question.
You may or may not be familiar with this concept. It’s frequently used at the doctor’s office when talking about pain. “On a scale of one to ten- one being no pain and 10 being dead at the hospital- what is your pain?” We can use this scaling concept in other places, to help identify where we are currently. You can create your own scales with any spectrums you want. Here are some examples:
On a scale of one to ten, one being not overwhelmed at all and ten being panic-attack-level overwhelmed, where are you now?
On a scale of one to ten, one being not frustrated at all and ten being the most frustrated you’ve ever been, how frustrated are you?
Once you’ve identified where you are on this numerical spectrum for whatever the topic may be, the next thing we must do is identify how you came up with that number? What made you choose that number to identify with?
Next, we need to figure out how to move the scale in the direction you want to go. To use the example of overwhelm given above. Let’s say that you identified as a seven on the overwhelm scale. What would a six look like? What would it take to get to a six? A five? Four? Three? Two? One?
We can move along the scale at whatever pace seems manageable or doable. If a one end of the spectrum seems too out of reach, we can inch our way closer. Sometimes even one whole number seems impossible. What would the difference between a seven and a six and a half be?
Having numbers to identify where we are at mentally/emotionally/physically/whatever you need, helps create a starting point that is not vague. We now know where we need to go and can create steps on how to get there.