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Well Being

Using just a glass of water, a professor teaches a powerful lesson about letting go

glass of water stress, put the glass down, stress
Photo by Nicolas Ruiz on Unsplash

The weight of a glass with water used as an analogy for stress.

"How heavy is this glass of water?"

That was a simple question posed by a professor to his students. This video initially came out in 2019, but recently was reposted by @thementorhouse on TikTok and has gone viral yet again.

The students began to guess. 8 oz? 12? 16?

Their answers all received a shake of the professor's head, because the lesson wasn't about physics. It was about stress.


With a gentle sincerity, he tells the class, "The absolute weight of the glass doesn't matter. It depends on how long I hold onto it. If I hold it for a minute, nothing happens. If I hold it for an hour, my arm will begin to ache. If I hold it all day long, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. While the weight of the glass hasn't changed, the longer I hold onto it the heavier it becomes."

Nods of agreement fill the room, and the professor continues.

"The stresses and the worries of life are like this glass of water. If you think about them for a little while, there's no problem. You think about it for a little bit longer … it begins to hurt. You think about them all day long and you'll feel paralyzed, incapable of doing anything."

Placing the glass on his desk, the professor concludes, "Always remember: put the glass down."

@thementorhouse

POWERFUL story on stress.

♬ original sound - The Mentor House

This video seems to be a staged reenactment of a lesson originally taught by a female psychologist (or at least, that seems to be how the story goes). However, the moral stays the same: Carrying the burden of the past memories—or fears about the future—causes unnecessary pain. Find a way to lighten the emotional load, otherwise you'll be weighed down and unable to move freely.

Letting go sounds easy in theory. But it's often easier said than done. PTSD, chaotic homes and unfair systems make stress next to inescapable. There are some proven ideas for "putting the glass down" though, even when it's difficult. Things like:

  • Writing out your negative thoughts
  • Calling a supportive person
  • Taking a walk in nature
  • Cuddling with a furry friend
  • Listening to empowering, uplifting music

No matter what glass of water you're holding onto at the moment, setting it aside, even momentarily, whenever possible might be the best way to overcome it. After all, everyone deserves a lighter load these days.

All illustrations are provided by Soosh and used with permission.

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