Press Pause and 'Mind the Gap'. Friday July 19, 2013
When I teach people how to think clearly under pressure, I talk about the need to 'press pause'. Most people's minds go blank under pressure because this is the natural reaction of their nervous system to a perceived threat. Our brain is designed with a fight-or-flight-or-freeze response to danger, just as we see in Nature. Under pressure, the logical part of the mind is by-passed and we react instinctively.
This helps get us out of danger, but it is not always appropriate - sometimes we need space to think, to gather our thoughts, and give a considered response.
Our nervous systems are filled with tiny gaps between the nerve cells. This is where a message is passed from one nerve cell to the next - allowing us to think. It is the structure of communication. It doesn't take long, but it does take some time for the message to cross the gap. In fact it reminds me of the encouragement to 'Mind the Gap' that I hear on the London Underground.
If you are feeling under pressure, you need to 'mind the gap' and 'press pause'. This is a helpful hesitation - empowering you to 'respond' to situations rather than give a knee-jerk 'reaction'.
The best way to 'mind the gap' and 'press pause' is to take a brain-break. This means to walk away from the situation for a couple of minutes - long enough for your mind to fill the gap with fresh inspiration. Worrying at something and throwing more effort at it is often counter-productive. Press pause and then press play again, and notice that life plays out in a fresh way.
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