"Easy" vs "Reset" Buttons

I spent my weekend playing tennis, watching my son's soccer tournament games, and reading Untamed by Glennon Doyle. In the book, which I highly recommend, Doyle presents an explanation for human behavior responses to life's stresses using the metaphor of "Easy" and "Reset" buttons. She writes, "Easy buttons are the things that appear in front of us that we want to reach for because they temporarily take us out of our pain and stress... "Easy" buttons take us to fake heaven." Reset buttons, on the other hand, find solace and calm from within us. Reset buttons are actions we can take that soothe out bodies from the inside; self-healing behaviors.

How can we tell if we are pushing the "Easy" button or the "Reset" button? Doyle describes how to tell the difference between the two as follows, "You know you've hit an "easy" button when, afterward, you feel more lost in the woods than you did before you hit it." The lightbulbs immediately began flashing in my head and I felt overwhelming gratitude for her simple explanation. Looking back over my 38 years, I am able to highlight which of my coping behaviors were "Easy" and which were "Reset". The "Easy" button behaviors left me feeling lost, uprooted, and helpless whereas "Reset" behaviors result in firmly rooted positive memories. I am steadily developing the habit of asking myself "How will I feel after engaging in this behavior?" both before and after I choose how to respond to acute and chronic stressors in my life.

Doyle uses the following examples as "Easy" button behaviors:

- boozing

- bingeing

- shopping

- snarking

- comparing

- reading mean reviews

- inhaling loads of sugar and passing out

She then shares the following as examples of "Reset" button behaviors:

- drink a glass of water

- take a walk

- take a bath

- practice yoga

- meditate

- play with my dog

- hug my family

- hide my phone

Here are some examples of behaviors I've engaged in as "Easy" button solutions:

- negative self-talk

- bingeing

- purging

- boozing

- shopping

- self-pity

- withdrawal from loved ones

- external blaming

- starvation

My current list of "Reset" button alternatives include:

- reading

- gratitude journaling

- taking a walk

- hugging family members

- listening to classical music

- cooking warm, comforting meals for myself and others

- smiling at and complimenting others

- mindfully cleaning/organizing

How about you? What are some examples of "Easy" button behaviors vs. "Reset" button behaviors from your past and present? What are some "Reset" button behaviors you would like to incorporate into your self-care practice?

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