Using the 10/10/10 Method to Reduce Anxiety

Photo by Christopher Ott

Stress is inevitable, affecting everyone regardless of demographics. Daily, we are bombarded with stressful situations occurring around the world while simultaneously experiencing personal problems. So how can non-personal and personal problems be navigated in a way that is manageable? While there is a plethora of information available on stress management, the easiest method to implement would be the 10/10/10 method.

In fact, as the 10/10/10 method is simple to remember, it can even be taught to and implemented by children. After all, learning how to manage stress is a skill that is necessary in adulthood. Regardless of age, maintaining an equanimous mental state is beneficial not only for emotional health but also physical health – the stress hormone is real and needs to be avoided.

Photo by Tonik

Using the 10/10/10 Rule to Your Advantage
Suzy Welch is the creator of the 10/10/10 rule. As a columnist and former editor of the Harvard Business Review, Welch struggled to balance work and family. After some brainstorming, the 10/10/10 rule became her solution to her problem. Essentially, the 10/10/10 rule priorities what is worth stressing over and what isn’t by posing three questions, as follows:

  • How will you feel about the consequences of this choice 10 minutes from now?
  • How will you feel about this 10 months from now?
  • How will you feel about this 10 years from now?

The reason this method is famous is because it can be personalised to any and every situation or emotion you’re attempting to deal with.

Switching Perspectives with the 10/10/10 Rule
By utilizing this method, a switch in perspective, and priority, is required. Instead of focusing on only your perspective, you’re literally forced to expand your consciousness as to grasp ‘the big picture’. Constantly switching sides means your ability to empathize will increase, too.

Speaking of the bigger picture, the 10/10/10 rule can even be applied to non-personal problems – like the current Covid-19 pandemic. The mainstream media is endlessly covering every statistic and the rise and fall of the numbers can be anxiety inducing. Applying the 10/10/10 rule to the corona virus would be as follows:

  • How will this non-personal problem affect me 10 minutes from now? By maintaining a healthy immune system and practicing high standards of hygiene, I will remain unaffected by this problem.
  • How will this non-personal problem affect me 10 months from now? Considering the strict regulations imposed by countries internationally, this problem will not affect me 10 months from now; if I am currently unemployed, I will continue searching for a job within the next 10 months.
  • How will this non-personal problem affect me 10 years from now? While my job and living situation may have been affected, within 10 years this problem will be but a chapter of my life

Naturally, the answers above are generalized so just remember that the purpose of the 10/10/10 rule is to widen your perspective. Sometimes, emotional reactions lasts for longer than necessary so by being entirely honest with yourself (example: will I still feel this way 10 years from now?), you can understand your reactions and yourself more.

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