Do you find your present life situation stressful at times, or are dealing with people who find it very stressful? This is a quick tip for moving from a triggered state of mind to a more clear state of mind so you can find better solutions and peace of mind again.
5:30 – The Number 1 Habit of Highly Resilient and Innovative People
9:00 – One Quick Tip for Getting Untriggered Quickly
12:25 – Example of How to Use this Tip
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This is episode 66 – HOW TO GET UNTRIGGERED QUICKLY. This episode is for you if you find your present life situation stressful at times, or are dealing with people who find it very stressful. This is a quick tip for moving from a triggered, or stressed state of mind to a more clear state of mind. That way you can find better solutions and peace of mind again. Hi, I’m Carla Rieger and you’re listening to the MindStory Speaker podcast.
The human default reaction to external stressors is triggered and problem-focused …
Instead of proactive and solutions-focused. For example, when a pandemic hits, a lockdown happens, the economy goes down, a politician says something you don’t like, you lose an important client, or your computer freezes, or you can’t find the cheese that you thought you bought. So if you ARE that way at times, its normal. Let yourself really feel that stress, move it out of your body, don’t hold onto it or project it onto others, really own it and breathe it through. Then turn it around as quickly as possible. That’s what the most highly resilient and innovative people in the world do. The good news is that you can train your brain to be highly resilient and innovative by adding small habits of mind to your day.
Habits like this can help you regain a sense of right perspective, productivity, profitability and harmony in your life. I’ve been researching resilience and innovation in business for over 24 years. My company and I have done research, surveys and interviews with people in every type of business on 4 different continents and in 19 industries to discover what makes someone more resilient and solutions-oriented during uncertainty as opposed to those who aren’t. Of course while there are many things that differentiate the two types of people, this one habit I’m sharing today seems to affect everything, and makes the biggest difference in the shortest amount of time for the most number of people.
Now, in the past I made the mistake of focusing on actions and strategies for resilience like having a second income source if one dries up. That can be good to have, but without addressing what would drive someone to put that strategy in place, it wasn’t helpful. In other words, no amount of strategies in the world would make a difference for someone if they weren’t thinking in the right way. They needed to be motivated at a deeper level to create a resilient infrastructure around them. They needed to be in the right frame of mind to come up with an ideal solution to a their particular complex situation. If they were triggered, stressed, reactive, they literally acted in dumb ways. I’m sure you’ve caught yourself thinking silly thoughts, doing dumb things, and then you calm down and all of sudden you see clearly what’s the right thing to do. But you can NEVER do that from a triggered state of mind.
So let’s try it. So think of the last time you faced an unwanted or unexpected change in your life – maybe because of Covid, maybe in your work, your health, relationships, family, whatever. Here are examples of things that went on for me or people in my family and company. You might relate to one of these or have your own.
For example, you had to cancel a trip, a family member got injured or ill, you developed an illness or got injured, your financial situation changed, or got worse. You ended a significant relationship, you moved, you had to start working from home, you started a new business, you started a new job, you had a number of tech issues to figure out, your Boston Fern died, whatever. Just pick one for now. It could be big or small. Got one? Good.
On a scale of 1 to 5 how stressful was it for you? For example I was in the middle of a move when Covid hit. Given I find moving at the best of times to be stressful, without adding the pandemic on top it…I would rate…my moving issue at a 5/5, extremely stressful.
So the number one habit of people who we discovered who were highly resilient and solutions-oriented was the ability to choose their state …their state of mind. AS OPPOSED TO LETTING THEIR STATE CHOOSE THEM: And sometimes you wake up in the morning and it feels like your state has chosen you, that you are victim to it, and cannot shake it no matter what you do. But that’s not true. You can always shift it, with one decision. If you’re rusty at doing this, it’s harder. But with practice it becomes very easy.
And we found this ABILITY came from them believing a philosophy like this – all states of mind (good or bad) are caused by my interpretations of life. As opposed to people who feel like other people or situations cause their state of mind. Do you share that philosophy?
For example, you might hear yourself or others say — this Covid-19 situation is making me anxious. I certainly did especially when it first hit. Or, this quarantine is hard. I’m getting fat, I’m getting cabin fever. And by the way, I’ve heard myself say all these things. So, it IS a default response, but it’s actually not a true response.
Have you ever watched a comedian and you say to your friend, wow – that guy was funny…and your friends says…no I don’t get it, I don’t like that style of humor. Highly resilient and innovative people know that their interpretations about that situation drove their state of mind, not the external circumstance.
I’m sure you’ve encountered people were not anxious about the pandemic, and whether you agree with their interpretation or not is not the point, it’s just to prove the fact that we have full control of our interpretations, but often forget to activate that capacity.
They are finding the quarantine easy. They don’t feel frustrated on lockdown. Now when I heard someone say that I thought, HUH, that’s because they are natural introverts who live in a mansion on the ocean, and have a nanny, and a home gym. But while that may be true in some situations, not always. There are people in small living spaces with kids racing around, who don’t live in nice areas, or who can’t go out, and are extroverts and still they are finding it easy, because of their thoughts. Now, this is NOT to say that having a negative reaction to your situation is wrong. I’m a big believer in accepting and being ok with whatever response you or others have…AND processing those negative feelings as I’ll talk about in a moment. But if you feel a victim to your interpretation for a long time…and you cannot change your situation for whatever reason…you are doing yourself and others a big disservice.
Highly resilient and innovative people usually said some version of… “I know my interpretations cause my state of mind” and that…To Practice Choosing Your State – Is to answer this question which turned out to be popular amongst highly resilient people. So use this or create your own version.
So start by remembering the stressor big or small? So, your question to ask yourself about this stressor – each morning or each evening before bed…until you change your state of mind on it is…WHAT’S A BETTER MEANING I COULD GIVE THIS SITUATION? So, when I was moving right when the lockdown happened…I wrote one answer every morning. “It might be an opportunity to more fully practice what I preach as a resiliency expert.” The next morning, “It might be an opportunity to learn to ask for help from family and friends, which I tended not do, but when I asked, the outpouring was amazing.”
I remembered hearing stories from relatives who lived through the Great Depression and World War II during the bombings of London. They talked about how hard it was, but they also talked about how it made them more compassionate to others, more community oriented, more resilient, wiser, ironically more safe in the world, because they felt…if I could thrive in THAT situation, I can survive anything. So, I answered in that way for myself…it might be making me more resilient, kinder, stronger. Each answer calmed me down and helped me think better, so think of just one for now. I know this seems deceptively simple. But I find if I give people complex things, they don’t do them. Something as simple as answering this question has a profound effect on your brain.
I was coaching a client who worked in an office, who was at home working full-time. Her nine-year-old son was at home bouncing off the walls, and her husband was working full-time outside the home in an essential service. She felt overwhelmed because she thought that there just wasn’t enough hours in the day to do her work and help her son stay focused. I suggested she ask herself that question. What’s a better meaning I could give the situation? Of course she resisted at first, which is normal. The survival brain doesn’t like to give up its default response that easily—wanting to blame external circumstances. Even though intellectually she understood that she was overwhelmed because of her interpretations, it was less easy to actually do it. So she had to ask this question of herself several times, but the answers started to come. She said, instead I could see this as an opportunity to improve my parenting skills, boundary setting and focus ability. She noticed she was gaining weight, because she wasn’t going to the gym anymore, they both needed to move more. So she started going out with her son daily to the beach, to throw the ball around to have fun and move A LOT until they both exhausted themselves. After that he was able to settle down and do some school work, and she was able to focus more on her work, and actually got more done in far less time. She lost weight, they got closer, and both of them got productive with their work again.
So, just to show you how one interpretation change creates an entire ripple effect to results in your life…so we start with a neutral situation …my son and I are working from home. Her interpretation is..I can’t make this work. State of mind = defeated. Actions = procrastinate. Results = low productivity. See how the interpretation creates the result? Same situation – my son and I are working from home. She starts with just changing her interpretation ..finding a way to make this work is going to make me more resilient. State of mind = motivated. Actions = focused problem solving. Results = high productivity. See again how the interpretation creates the result? I know this seems simplistic, but I find if you don’t continually spell it for people like this, they’ll keep choosing interpretations that don’t serve the results they want, because blaming external situations seems so much easier in the short term, but causes much more suffering in the long term.
All that said, it can be hard to change a state of mind if you don’t process the emotions first. As I said in other episodes. It’s like venting only in a healthy way. There are 3 ways people deal with emotions, only one of which is actually healthy. One is to suppress, and try to talk yourself out of a negative emotion cognitively. What ends up happening is that it just goes into hiding and comes out in an inappropriate, overblown way at another time, or can lead to mental emotional or physical problems like mental fatigue, depression, addictions or illness. The 2nd is to project your negative emotions onto others like family members, politicians, or someone on social media saying something you don’t like so you post a nasty comment. The third is to process them, which is to just let yourself feel them. Some people do that through journaling like Morning Pages…which is 3 pages where you write down every negative thing on your mind and then burn or tear up the piece of paper. It’s for your eyes only, but people often feel relieved just to write it all down. Or have a coach or counsellor to talk to…someone who is holds a safe space for you to vent. Or, though physical activity or being out in nature or both…going for a vigorous hike. Whatever works for you. The metaphor here is that emotional processing is like burning logs in a fireplace. If you let the emotions burn they become fuel for growth…they fuel a creative transformation in your mindset…
This podcast episode, by the way, is based on our book, MindStory Inner Coach. If you’d like more tools like this, for a limited time we’re offering this book for free on our website: MindStoryAcademy.com. You’ll also see the free book link in the show notes. Along with the book, you also get two short guided audios that are called neuro-blueprints. They are form of mental rehearsal that opens up your resilience and innovative thinking.
One is called how to end self sabotage, it’s one you would use at night. The other is called your hero’s journey, which is about reframing the challenges of your life in terms of a mythic adventure and how those challenges have forged you in the fire of wisdom to now help others. Sometimes that’s hard to see until you do a process like this. And this is a version you would do in the morning. These take chapters 2 and 10 of the book to a much deeper level. All together, the audios and the book come to $94 but you can get them free right now.
So that’s it for today…Do post a review of this podcast if you like it – on iTunes or youTube or wherever you listen. It makes a big difference to helping others find out about it.
I hope that was helpful. Until next time, I’m Carla Rieger, thanks for listening.