Mum’s ice cream overload and having an anxiety threshold

Here’s what I was confronted with when I went to get some ice cream out of mum’s freezer the other day:

I was so intrigued that I took them all out of the freezer, did a head count, and of course took a photo. For the record there were 34 tubs, 10 boxes, and assorted magnums etc. And the tubs weren’t the crappy stuff either, we’re talking Connoisseur, Sara Lee … and even a few Maggie Beer ones too.

Here’s the strange thing – mum doesn’t even really eat ice cream. She buys it for other people, not herself. And despite being a highly trained, exceptionally talented and extremely successful psychiatrist, she can’t really explain it.

I think it’s about having an anxiety threshold. In different parts of our life we have different levels where anxiety or fear kicks in. I was speaking recently with a client about this for her bank account. As soon as the amount of money drops below $10k she starts to feel anxious, and kicks into gear to generate more sales.

This anxiety threshold can be useful (as with my client as a motivational trigger), or harmless (as with mum and her ice-cream), or harmful.

It’s harmful when it stops us implementing the projects that matter. There are lots of people who stay in jobs that they don’t love, that may even be soul destroying, because giving up the salary crosses over an anxiety threshold.

Implementing anything important is risky. And where the obstacle to launching an important project is fear or anxiety, we need to examine whether it’s a rational fear or not. If it’s irrational, it doesn’t mean it’s any less real. But it is useful to identify where your anxiety threshold is irrational – and if that is harmful, to do something about it.

Love to hear your thoughts and experiences. What are your anxiety thresholds? You can leave your comments below.