01 Oct How to Think and Act Effectively in Difficult Situations
How to Think and Act Effectively in Difficult Situations
We all know the scenario.
You’re in a challenging situation and things aren’t going to plan. Logically, you know it’s important to stay calm, make rational decisions and take positive action. However, your mind is racing, you can’t think straight, your self-talk is negative and unhelpful and you can only envisage catastrophic outcomes.
You feel as if your thoughts are self-sabotaging your intentions.
What can you do to stop this downward spiral and salvage the situation?
Follow this simple process.
The first thing to do is stop. Say to yourself out loud and with commitment:
‘Stop. These thoughts aren’t helping me. I’m going to stop them’
Take long, slow, deep breaths for as long as you need. Experience whatever is happening. Don’t fight it. Change will happen.
3 Understand what’s happening
Our brains are encased in a skull. They can’t expand much without causing serious brain damage. Therefore, blood flow (which causes swelling) can only go to one area of the brain at a time. If your thoughts are emotional and unhelpful, it’s likely that blood is flowing to the area of your brain known as the limbic system. To think calmly and rationally, you need to let the blood get to the part of your brain known as the frontal lobe. When blood reaches this area, the situation you’re in will seem very different.
4 Let the River Flow to the Valley
Think of your mind as a river. Many rivers start in the mountains and are formed by melting snow. When a river is high in the mountains, it is very violent as it rages and crashes down the steep slopes. But, every river eventually reaches the valley where it progressively slows and then gently meanders towards the sea.
When the blood in your brain is in the limbic system, it’s like the river being high in the mountain. Just as you wouldn’t try and push a raging torrent back up the mountain, don’t try and forcibly change the blood flow in your brain, the harder you try the less likely it is to happen. Breathe slowly and deeply and allow the process to happen. Tell yourself that you’re going to let the blood flow from the limbic system to the frontal lobe and then (and only then), you’ll reassess the situation; make considered decisions and take constructive action.
5 Take Action
When you’re ready and your mind has calmed down and you’re thinking clearly in the present moment, evaluate your position realistically. Can you resolve the issue yourself? Do you need help? Identify which (if any) resources you need, make a plan and start to take action. Be flexible and allow for setbacks. Be determined and committed. Remember, no matter how bad things seem, there is always an alternative outcome that is more acceptable. When you’re thinking calmly in the present moment, you’re more likely to find the acceptable outcome you want.
6 Practice Makes Perfect
Don’t worry, if the calming process takes several minutes at first. The more you practise, the quicker it will get.
7 Hypnotherapy can help
Hypnotherapy can help you perfect the process quickly and easily. To find out more contact me.
BA (Hons) D.Hyp PDCBHyp
Member of The British Society of Clinical Hypnosis
Member of The British Institute of Hypnotherapy
Tel: 07768 613866