Wednesday , 29 May 2024

Clarity of Thought – Even in the Face of Pressure and Stress

Have you ever felt the pressure rising in your body or where your face got hot?  Ever notice that you were getting more and more stressed out?  This often happens to us and we don’t notice until it’s too late. Is that good for business?  Does it impair the quality of your life?

Think about it for a second, can you remember a specific time when you notice it before you blew up or shut down?  Or, when you noticed that you just were not thinking clearly any more?  Clarity of thought is vital to the maximum success in business and to the maximum enjoyment of life.  And, the ability to be “in the moment” and to really experience life without being distracted by memories, regrets, fears of the past and worries about the future is a life skill worth cultivating and experiencing.

And, those who have had this experience, however fleeting, realize just how powerful it can be.  When you are really clear you are not deceived or seduced by the past.  You are able to think clearly and as a consequence, you don’t just enjoy life more profoundly, you really do get better results.

So, as you know I’m not fond of the books, chapters, articles that just tell us what to do.  They are a dime a dozen.  I like resources that tell you how – at least one way – to actually do something.  I have enough confidence that you can then experiment and learn from experience and make improvements of your own.

So, how do you cultivate calm, serenity and clarity in the face of the brute force and pressures of day to day business and life?

Breathing.  Breathing is one of the few bodily functions that is both unconscious (most of the time we aren’t thinking about it) and conscious.  When we do think about it we can controll it.  And as we change the way we breath, we create profound changes in our body’s neuro transmittors and how we feel. and, how you feel can have a dramatic effect on the clariy of your thought.

One specific way of breathing with proven effect is an exercise known as “The Four Fold Breath” but you can use any exercise of breathing (also known as pranayama).

This is, simply speaking, a rhythmic pattern of breathing:

1. Inhale to the count of four (filling your belly first then the lungs with air)
2. Hold your breath for the count of two
3. Completely empty your lungs and belly of all air to the count of four, and…
4. Hold your empty lungs to the count of two and then repeat the entire process.

As Ron Hale Evans said in his awesome book – Mind Performance Hacks, the Four Fold Breath is a useful way of “…gaining clarity and rationality when you’re stressed or panicked..”  It is he observes “…a sort of emergency first aid for clear thinking.”

That book, has a great practical description of the process as Mind Hack #59.

Try this one.  when you get good, you can do this unnoticed and in public.  You will find that you do get clarity, reduce stress and the effects of pressure and anxiety,  Get bullied by a person at work. Try this.  Teenager driving you to distraction where you bahve less than optimally.  Try it.  Get the butterflies before a speech or negotiation – you get it…try this.

You will become a more resourceful, energetic yet tranquil and clear thinker.

Let me know what you think and how you begin to feel.

Photo Credit: bark