For any busy business owner overwhelm is a natural part of life. It happens. Whether it is an overwhelm of ideas or problems we can all reach that point where we have too much in our head and little action to reassure our system that things are working and moving in the right direction.
This can result in a chemical shift in the brain and that can impact your ability to make good decisions under pressure. In this article I want to share with you 5 ways you can transform the overwhelm into clarity.
It might sound simple, but the reality is that when we feel ‘under attack’ albeit it from imagined or even real threats, our system goes into to survival mode and we hold hour breath and start breathing much faster and shorter breaths if at all. This then results in less oxygen to the brain and results in less capacity to think clearly. Learning to stop, take a few deep breaths whilst scanning your body from head to toe for tension and allowing the physical tension to be released can in itself change your state.
We each process, store and recall information differently and some information is stored inside, and some is outside. Held in space around us. You have to think of a time when you leave a room to get something and by the time you get to the room you can’t remember it. So, you return to the original space to remember why you left. That is evidence that we hold information in space. Our environment evokes and impacts our thinking and stimulates what we think about. When in overwhelm it is worth considering the space you are in and reflect on finding a space that knows something about clarity. (Yes, I know it sounds weird, but trust me for a moment. Be curious and try it just for fun and notice what happens) it could be that just standing up, give you a new perspective or it could be a walk along the beach. Sometimes just turning your head to look in a new direction can shift your state to gain access to new information.
Asking Questions That Train Your Attention On Solutions
Learning to ask questions that train your attention on what you want and what is working is vital. Often at times of overwhelm our attention is on what is not working and what we don’t want or what we want less of. Learning to ask questions like ‘What would I like to have happen?’ or ‘What is working?’ can change your focus and change the response. The brain is a pattern spotting system that likes to solve problems wit the sole purpose of keeping you safe. When you articulate what is not working or what you don’t want, it can only ever find more of what you don’t want. It is like going shopping with a list of things you don’t want and expecting a shop assistant to find them for you. It is impossible and frustrating for all involve
Ask Questions To Train Your Attention On Progress And Positive Change
During times of stress our brains will automatically look for what is not working or anything that could put you in danger. Training your attention to notice what is working and any change that could represent progress is vital. But what is also important is that you give the ‘what is working’ and evidence of progressive change the same, if not more attention than you have the problem. If you have talked about what is not fair and what is not working for 5 minutes then talk about what is working and what has changed for the same amount of time. If you have stamped your feet, screamed and shouted about what didn’t work then get your whole body equally involved in the process of celebrating the change. The reason for this is that your body and mind are storing data all the time and if that data is not accurately filed it impacts the quality of the decisions you make.
Ask Questions That Train Your Attention On Metaphor
Asking yourself questions that stimulate and or encourage a metaphor to describe your experience can have a profound effect on the way and pace you change state. For example, reflecting on overwhelm for you is like what? And clarity for you is like what? Can give you access to the whole system which is often not accessible with language alone. It is said that the brain thinks in pictures therefore when we are able (and it is not always possible) to develop a metaphor to describe our current experience and or our desired outcome it can often make the transformation instant or at the very least faster. Most leaders know that metaphors work, but few understand the power of knowing the individual metaphor. Overwhelm for some can be like a tornado ripping through their mind and for others it is simply like a pebble dropped in a pond creating some ripples. For some clarity is like a clear path and for others it is an open heart. The important factor is to know what yours is like now and to understand what it would be like, if it were just the way you would like it to be. When you have a metaphor for at your worst and at your best you can start the process of making sense of what happens in between tornado and path or in between ripples and open heart.
Have fun asking some different questions and learning how to transform clarity into overwhelm. If you are still struggling please know that for many of us we can only access the wisdom within with the help and assistance of the questions and words externally. The human brain conserves energy by not listening to things it thinks it has already heard and often that includes our own inner thinking and voice and we often do not recall information accurately over time. When we work with someone like a coach we not only have someone that can ask the questions and reflect our experience outside, but they will often identify and or remember information outside our conscious awareness. That is why coaches like Ian play a massive role in the world of change and why independence is overrated.
Our guest Blogger – Sheryl Andrews – Author, Motivational Speaker, Coach and Group Facilitator
For a better perspective call the Listening Detective
Author of Manage your critic – From overwhelm to clarity in 7 steps and up and coming book: Do, Delegate or Ditch – Making sense of why you say one thing and do another, has been motivating change for individuals and teams for 30 years. In 2006 Sheryl became fascinated by the patterns associated with people who found themselves saying one thing and yet doing another. A natural talker trained listener, she became curious about what were the core principles and skills required to have clarity of what you want and the confidence to ask for it and based on her findings the ‘The Ultimate Do, delegate or Ditch system’ TM was born. If you have a repeated pattern of overwhelm and or frustration get in touch. Changing the way you listen, invite and react to feedback can transform the way you work, learn and live.
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Author of Manage Your Critic – From Overwhelm to clarity in 7 steps Do, Delegate or Ditch – Develop the confidence to ask for help without fear of failure or guilt