Five By Five Rule

Earlier this morning, I was having a session at a local diner with an adolescent male I see twice a week. He was initially referred for counseling for anger management after aggravated assault charges and being put on house arrest. He found out the other day that his court date was postponed for the second time. To say the least, he was beyond pissed off. He luckily managed his temper well and isolated himself before he blew up on anyone, which I gave him praise for. This incident reminded me of one of my favorite “rules” I ever stumbled upon.

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I was scrolling mindlessly through Instagram one day when this little gem popped up. Of course, I am a sucker for a good inspirational quote or #motivationmonday post, but I usually don’t give it second thought after I click on it twice. This one made me think for a second though. I stopped and re-read it several times.

This rule of thumb compartmentalized a personal philosophy that I often share with clients. When someone becomes angry, anxious, or upset, I would always tell them to ask themselves, “Is it worth it?” Is it really worth putting all of this energy into such high energy emotions when you could be using your energy to be productive. Is it really worth sweating the small stuff when you have bigger fish to fry? That is why I love the 5×5 rule.

It truly emphasizes the idea of “don’t sweat the small stuff.” The majority of situations we enter on a day-to-day basis will get under our skin. At the end of the day, these incidents are often forgotten or have been resolved by the next day. Therefore, it is not worth spending your time and energy on it. However, the 5×5 rule does not discount the idea that there will be more difficult situations throughout life. There are some problems that you could potentially worry about in the long-term or that will “matter in five years” (i.e. finances, job, family, friends, relationships, etc.). It allows wiggle room for the bigger issues that require more attention. It puts your priorities into focus.

Whether it is five minutes or five years, you still matter.

-The Caring Counselor


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