The Bigger Your Problem The More You Need To Try This Solution
The outcome of this process is to gain clarity on the reasons for your problems, struggles or challenges.
Once you have clarity you can take appropriate actions to solve your problems or challenges.
Most of us are living in a drama of our own creation.
- Have you ever had a huge blowout with a friend or a loved one?
- Have you been faced with what seems like an impossible problem?
- Have you ever needed to do something that made you crazy-upset or make you get your back up defensively?
How does that look for you? The bigger the problem, the harder everything else seems to be. Let me give you a recent example from my own life.
”Darren, you need to get a job.”
Some time ago I was faced with the question of, should I get a job. Money was tight to the point of feeling stuck with no way out. My partner and I had a discussion about how my business was going, and his own efforts in the job market.
Without going into too many personal details, I had to think on what I should do. The negative emotions started. I began to feel anger. I didn’t want to have to look for a job, I wanted to continue working on my business. I realized the dominant feeling that was showing up was pride. In this case, having to possibly swallow my pride, which felt like I was giving up and led me to feel like a complete failure.
My reactive brain went off on a tangent. My body went tight. I was so stiff and rigid all day as a result of my emotional/physical response to my intense frustration, that when I got out of bed the next morning I felt my back spasm. I kid you not! The intensity of my reaction was so bad that my feelings caused me to hurt my back.
Now, that is a severe example, but I hope it helps to show why that state of mind was not a great place for me to try and seek clarity! And that’s precisely why I did the following process I’m about to describe for myself.
As humans we are either in drama or data mode.
When I write, “drama” it’s not to diminish or make light of what you are experiencing. And “data” means looking at things logically, and/or analyzing the facts. In my example of looking for a job, the data would be my finances. The drama involves all my emotions around money, pride, and failure.
For the sake of the process I’m about to teach you, let’s look at things in the most simplistic way.
When you’re in drama mode, i.e. upset, struggling, stressed out, feeling under threat, insecure, or frustrated, you can’t think clearly.
You can’t fully access your pre-frontal cortex, your thinking brain, to respond to your problems. You are only able to react. This is the response of your ancient brains, your mammalian and reptilian brains, keeping you comfortable and safe.
Note: You can use this process even when you’re not in high drama mode. This method is perfect for when you have a big decision to make, or when you’re trying to figure something out. In this case, I suggest you prime your mind with the question at hand. Write it down on a piece of paper first to make a mind-body/neurolinguistic connection to the thought.
How do you get out of your reactionary brains, and into the part of your brain that allows you to think with clarity, without reaction or emotion, and come up with solutions to your problems and challenges?
How to get into “data” mode
The first thing you need to do is to go for a walk. Stay with me here…
When we’re walking, especially in nature, the physical act of movement helps to clear the mind. Walking won’t solve your problems, but it will help you to calm down the irrational/reactive brains, so that you can begin to use your logical, thinking brain to calmly process your current problem.
When you’re outside in nature, using your senses to take it all in, your brain responds by releasing feel-good chemicals that help you to relax and feel refreshed.
Use as many of your senses as you can to focus on your surroundings and get you into a mediative-like state, which in part calms down the reactive brains. Smell the air, the grass, and the flowers. Look at the colour of the sky, the clouds, the grass, and the trees. Listen to the wind, the birds, and the dogs playing in the park. Feel the temperature of the air on your face, and the warmth of the sun on your skin.
Walk for 30 minutes or longer and alone
No music. No distractions. Set your phone to airplane mode.
You will not receive the benefits of this walk if you allow yourself to be distracted by other people’s needs and wants. This is your time! Think of it as a moving meditation. You wouldn’t be texting while meditating would you?
Besides, notifications are part of the bigger problem. They are designed to keep you on edge all of the time, begging you to react immediately. But I digress…
The Selfie-Video for One’s Self
The Step-By-Step Process
- Identify the problem as best you can in the moment. This can be as simple as (using my example), “What about getting a job is upsetting me this much?”
- Start by taking a walk outside in nature, free from all distractions. Set your phone to airplane mode.
- Walk until you feel you mind is calm. Take as long as you need.
- Record a selfie video with your phone while walking. Talk out your problem to yourself. I find it helps if you look into your own eyes while doing this to get to the heart of the matter. Take as long as you need. You’ll know when you’re done.
- When you’re done recording, don’t look at the video anywhere from a few hours until tomorrow. (See note below.)
- In private and without distraction or interruption (remember, phone in airplane mode and all notifications off), watch your video and take notes.
- Repeat the process of watching the video and making notes if needed. It’s amazing what you can pick up on a second pass. You might notice things like your tone of voice, the quickness of your speech, or body language. What do all of these cues tell you?
- If you’re still struggling with your problem, repeat the process from the start.
Note: If you’re dealing with a really big problem, the kind where maybe you’ve lost control of your senses, your temper, etc. it can be useful to wait a day before watching the video. There is no right or wrong here, just the process of the time it takes for you to calm down and become less reactive to the problem you’re facing.
Why you need to do this process
The biggest problem most people face is that they don’t have enough clarity around why they have the problem in the first place.
It’s essential to get clarity about your problems or struggles. I don’t mean that it needs to be summed up in a single sentence. Rather, take the time to dive deep into the problem in order to understand it’s many parts.
It makes sense, right? The bigger the struggle, the more challenging the problem, and the greater the number of parts that make up the problem.
The parts of the problem can be anything from,
- the people in your life
- your past
- your behaviours
- your mindset
- your beliefs
- your environment
- your health
- what you want (but aren’t getting)
- and so on.
That’s a lot of unpacking, but it needs to be done if you want to unbox your greatness and be the person you want to be!
Once you see all the moving pieces you can start working on strategies to implement practices that will solve the problem, once and for all.
Was this useful? Would you like some help unpacking your problems?
This process is a great place to start to get some clarity. But many people get stuck with the next steps, i.e. what needs to change, how to affect those changes, and implementing practices and systems to improve their life.
Ready to break out?
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Giving credit where credit is due: I learned this process from Mark Whitehand who runs a the Facebook group I can’t recommend highly enough, Storytelling Entrepreneurs.