03 Jun Your Mind and the Crisis
The last thought we may have in the midst of a crisis is how we are likely to be thinking about it. What if we were able to develop that ability? Would we negotiate the situation more effectively, if not more realistically. Taking more effective action earlier, controlling what we can and accepting what we cannot.
We are naturally inclined once we have labelled something as a threat to seek information that has confirmed our initial assumption and reject anything to the contrary. We then make inferences, mostly negative, about the information we gather and the body supports the feeling with an equivalent somatic response. We feel what we have begun to think, confirming a future that is bleak. Change will not be for the better and we become transfixed by the picture we have created in our minds. We forget that to evolve as a civilisation we have often depended on the fact that we have the ability to endure so much.
The mind is interested in the “threat” you have identified and focuses on protecting you from it. The confusing thing for most people is how far this definition extends and that it fails to discriminate between what is real and what is perceived. It is triggered into action
exaggerating past, present or future events. In doing so it asks the body to join its enterprise, generating a chemistry that creates a fusion between the two. Now you are convinced that whatever it is telling you is absolutely true.
The great thing about the information available today that gives us this deeper insight into the mind and its effects is that we can develop an objectivity in those challenging situations to see how it seeks to help, when it actually is not.
No one benefits from seeing something that they have labelled as a crisis in an even more negative way. This is in no way meant to detract from the severity of personal experience. It isn’t that you are wrong to feel the way you do or that you are not entitled to feel. That is not the objective we are concerned with. Understanding the components which create the severity, is the benefit we seek to gain. It gives us the power to influence our responses in the most challenging situations.
Albert Ellis the psychotherapist, spoke of the 100 people model. If there are a hundred people faced with a difficult situation, would they all think and feel the same way? If some were able to think differently, what would they need to believe? We individually face many difficulties as we progress through life. Some we clearly negotiate better than others despite the fact that they may be comparably more challenging. We can at times naturally access thinking options . Doing so more consistently, will take our understanding of EQ to another level. This is fast becoming the area where individual and organisational potential really lies, redefining personal growth.
Veronica Tugaleva the award winning author and poet observed this when she said that “personal growth occurs in the throws of conflict-when you are angry, afraid, frustrated. It happens when you are doing the same old thing and you suddenly realise that you have a choice”.
What we refer to as “thinking alternatives”, and the associated personal development extends beyond dealing with “crisis situations” . As part of the toolkit we develop for life, we learn that experience is no longer defined as circumstances we respond to, it is something we have the ability to adapt.