I recently went to a work induction course. I joined a new collective of people about to undertake a very stressful project, with large budgets, people they didn’t like and tight deadlines.
The people running the course did a good job, mentioning that when you get into what they calledthe ‘Inside The Box’ mood, and you act from that place, things are not going to end up well. But they didn’t’ mention how to get 'Out of the box'. So I had my own go at figuring that out and I thought I should share. ( as I do)
But first, it's worth mentioning that knowing how to get out of a negative mental state is not useful just in the office. Sport psychology techniques can make or break records, and are known be a life-saver outside of the gym too.
If you often find yourself in a headspace you don't want to be, I would suggest to cut yourself some slack first. One of the greatest athletes of all time, Roger Federer, had a very bad temper as a young tennis player. He got many warnings for throwing his racket onto the court and lost many matches as a result of his bad mood.
As he matured on the tennis court and outside of it, he experienced that ‘when you train the body, the mind follows’. And yes, the good news is that it works both ways.
Here is my two cents on recovering from a brain cramp.
1. Stop and Breathe.
Breathing is of course underrated, because it is done for us, automatically. But if you take between 5 to 10 seconds to control the inbreath and the outbreath, the parasympathetic part of the brain switches on and begins to take over from the fight-or-flight response. Everyone from new born babies to samurais use breathing into the belly as a foundation. To be more precise, it is breating into the lower part of the abdomen. Consider the location of your belly button - aim to breath in lower with about 2 inches; we are looking for three of four deep breaths here.
2. Notice the facts
From this state, notice without judgement what is causing you stress. When you learn something new, or come across hurdles, there is no use in judging yourself as good or bad. That’s usually harsh or just pointless and brings no resolution. If you stop, the mind starts being on your side and acts like a mirror. The mind’s top use is to find patterns. Just find the pattern.
3. Take action.
No use to just look in the mirror and recognize what is holding you back. Decide what to do about it, and do it as soon as it’s kind and considerate to you and those impacted by your decisions.
Try it with a smaller issue first and work your way up to bigger problems as you make progess.
Remember that the more disciplined you are with your physical routines, the better the mindset too.
A win win situation.