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EXECUTIVE DEVELOPMENT PRESS, INC. Copyright 1953
By Robert R. Updegraff
Get Yourself a Trouble Tree
Rule No. 2
One of the most cheerful men I have ever known was plant superintendent in a large company making electrical appliances. His was a high-pressure job with plenty of headaches. Yet he never seemed worried or frustrated. There were no swollen lines between his eyes.
One evening I was invited to this man's home for dinner. I happened to know that he had had a particularly trying day-one of those days when everything went wrong. But no one ever would have guessed it from the cheerful talk at his dinner table.
Never once during the meal did my host mention the troubles of the day. Instead, we talked about what his wife and two boys had been doing, and about their plans for a family vacation a few weeks hence. And I was asked about my family and our vacation plans. It was a happy meal. Had I not known differently, I would have thought my friend hadn't a care in the world.
* * *
After dinner he and I went out to look at his vegetable garden. I remarked about his cheerfulness at the dinner table after his difficult day.
He grinned. "I'll let you in on a little secret." He led me around to the front yard and pointed to a little copper beech tree by the front door.
"That's my private Trouble Tree," he explained. "Every night when I come home I mentally hang all the day's troubles on that tree. I say to myself, 'Hang there for the night. I'll pick you up when I start for work in the morning.'
"The funny thing about it," he continued, "is that half the time when I leave the house the next morning I discover that most of what I thought were troubles when I hung them up have blown away in the night! Even the ones that are still hanging there aren't half as heavy or worrisome as they seemed when I came home the night before."
* * *
Ever since that evening I have had a private Trouble Tree in my own yard. (I would pick a lamp post at the corner if I lived in a city apartment.) It is a little gray birch which sometimes bends almost double with the troubles I hang on it when I arrive home. Oddly enough, though, it is usually standing up straight in the morning!
I have found that my friend was right-most of my worries have blown away during the night. The ones that are left don't seem half as serious after an evening of relaxation and a good night's sleep.
There is a sound scientific basis for this. Our subconscious minds take care of many of our problems during the night, while our conscious minds rest-if we go to bed in a cheerful mood. That is why it is so wise to park your troubles outside the front door and spend the evening playing games, reading, watching television, going to the movies, or indulging in some relaxing hobby.
Where as, if we brood over the events of the day, or worry over the tough problems facing us tomorrow, we go to bed with an anxious mind, sleep restlessly, and are apt to wake up tired and worried. Our subconscious mind has not come to our rescue because we haven't given it a chance. Often we are more tired than when we went to bed and less able to cope with our problems.
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