Whenever I'm busy, and I begin to get stressed, I write down a list of things that I need to do. I immediately feel a wave of relief as my troubles pass from my brain to the sheet of paper in front of me.
I suspect I'm not unique in this.
My idea is to take the concept a step further by helping
to ease anxiety in people who are stressing about making a complex decision, by transferring their worry from a mental to a physical state.
Imagine a minimalist grey room, with grey walls and grey ceilings. The floor is also grey. In one corner is a living bamboo, and in the centre of the room, a low Japanese table, with a large set of scales atop.
All is calm.
Scattered around the grey floor are beautifully smooth round stones in black and white, of various sizes. On the table, next to the scales, are a set of two chalk markers - a black one for the white stones, and a white one for the black stones. Now the room is set for you to enter with your problem - such as "I'm not sure I should eat meat any more".
As conflicting thoughts enter your head, write them down on conflicting stones. Choose a stone whose size reflects the significance of your thought.
"I don't want animals to die" - big white stone.
"Maybe I'm just being influenced by the bunch of hippies I work with and I'd rather make my own mind up" - small black stone.
"Mmmmmm... meat" - big black stone.
"I never liked the taste of fish anyway" - small white stone.
With each thought, add the stone to the scales, with black stones on one side and white on the other. The exercise finishes when your mind is clear, and the scales have tipped towards the answer which you subconsciously knew long before you walked into the room.
You now have ten minutes to clean the stones in quiet reflection, letting your decision sink in.