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Who Moved my Cheese

“Who moved my cheese?” – Adapting to change

“Who moved my cheese?” is a short light-hearted story about change written by Dr Spencer Johnson. Watch the video animation below and see if you recognise yourself in any of thecharacters.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Txy6DwbwZ9g

Sniff and Scurry, the mice in the story have simple brains enabling them to focus on finding cheesethat they need for survival. They instinctively monitor the cheese to ensure it is not going bad and asit depletes they immediately look for new sources.

However, Hem and Haw, the little people have more complex brains, that make their lives morecomplicated. Their cheese represents the things they think they need to be happy. Things like a nicehome or car, a good job, family, health or peace of mind. Once they find sources of cheese theybecome comfortable and believe it will last forever. So, when the cheese does run out they find it hard to return to looking for new sources. Haw does eventually adapt to seek new cheese, learningvaluable lessons along the way; whereas Hem remains stuck wanting things to be as they were,wanting the old cheese.

Did you identify with any of the characters?

It’s okay to feel upset, disappointed, annoyed, and angry like Hem, to want things to be the same. Itis part of being human, having emotions and beliefs. But if we only focus on the things we can’t haveor do, like Hem, this can adversely affect our mood and stress levels. If we are able to look for new things to do or new ways to do things, as Haw did, our mood improves and stress levels reduce. Inorder to adapt to the present circumstances we need to be able let go of the past.Although we may not have been able to predict the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, or the restrictions that we are now faced with, we can choose how to react to our current situation. Wecan be active, like Haw, and find new ways to do things or passive like Hem and stay stuck.

How can we do things differently?

I was able to stay connected with friends this week, by attending my local book club via zoom. Weeven had a new member join us from Trinidad. Although there were challenges around using the platform, there were benefits to having a virtual group as more people were able to attend.

Yoga is important to me and I miss attending classes. When my yoga teacher invited me to participate in an online yoga class I was a little apprehensive but decided to give it a go. There were some challenges such as positioning the screen for optimum viewing while practicing, but there was also the benefit of being able to join the class from outside in my garden.

While waiting in a long queue outside the supermarket, I decided to use the opportunity to practice mindful walking. The queue moved slowly allowing me to focus on each step without looking silly in public. Each time I stopped, I stood straight in mountain pose, taking notice of my surroundings, feeling the air on my skin and taking a few deep breaths.

How about you, what new ways have you found to do things?

By Sue Jones

College Wellbeing Practitioner