Resetting Your Power in a Time of Fear and Uncertainty
If you are anything like us, lately you’re waking up with some level of anxiety and fear. The barrage of bad news about school closures, financial markets tanking, neighborhoods shutting down and the frightening predictions about our healthcare system’s inability to deal with what is coming can be overwhelming. Humans do not do well with change and uncertainty. It tends to create stress, and it can bring out the worst in us.
At Fast Forward, we have a name for this state of mind: we call it a “Power Outage.”
A Power Outage is a temporary loss of power, peace, motivation, or confidence (sometimes all 4). It’s typically triggered by circumstances around us, and then our mind goes into a downward negative spiral that gets in the way of rational thought and action. Power Outages can make things seem worse than they are, and they prevent us from being in action.
Here are 4 steps to Reset during Power Outages so that you can keep yourself, your team and your family motivated in the months ahead:
- Take a deep breath and become an observer of your thoughts.
As humans, our thoughts have a tendency to go negative. This is not because we are negative people–the research shows that we are just wired this way. According to the National Science Foundation, we have an average of 12,000-60,000 thoughts a day, and 70% of them are negative! So, how do we exercise discipline and keep from getting sucked into that negativity?
Imagine you are standing on the side of a road, watching your thoughts race by like traffic. Watch as your thoughts go by, but don’t jump in to join them. Just stay on the side of that road. Breathe in through your nose while counting to six, and then let that breath out through your mouth for the same amount of time. When you practice this, as with everything, you will get better at it!
- Clear your negative thoughts and feelings.
Now that you have observed your thoughts, we find there are two ways to clear and reset. The first is to find someone you trust who will simply listen – not judge you or tell you what to do. Tell them your thoughts and concerns. Once you say them out loud, they tend to have less heat and drama. The other approach is to write those thoughts down in a journal. Many people find this has the same effect. Both of these approaches give you the ability to reset, regain your composure and think more clearly.
- Actively choose your perspective.
While you may have no control over the circumstances, you can always choose your perspective. Ask yourself:
- What am I grateful for?
- What is working right now?
- How can I make a difference and contribute? How can I lift up my team or community, especially those who have less than me?
- Get in action.
Human brains are hardwired to act. By taking steps towards a positive goal, you will redirect your energy to something productive that can have a positive impact. Neuroscience tells us that accomplishing tasks releases dopamine in the brain, giving us a sense of happiness, and motivating you to stay active and achieve even more. Identify actions you can take now:
- Choose an action you can take today that will forward your business or empower your team
- Create an ideal work space if you’re newly working from home
- Create a plan for a future work initiative
- Clean out your garage, a closet, anything that makes you feel productive
- Schedule video call to connect with your family or friends
- Check out a workout on YouTube that you can do from home
These steps to protect your mental health are just as important as washing your hands to protect your physical health! As with anything, when you practice this process you will improve and be able to reset more quickly.
We are all in this together so pass on this advice. You can help the people in your life if they are struggling with a Power Outage. Make a difference, and stay safe and healthy.
Want to learn more about how to interrupt negative thoughts and habits, and take real, positive action in your work and life? Sign up for Fast Forward emails in the footer below.