Ever feel like you’re drowning? Being involved in a submersion accident isn’t a threat most of us face, but we often feel overwhelmed. Our constant states of cognitive overload, FOMO, distraction and multitasking have completely scrambled our fight or flight instinct; that important impulse which would kick in if we were truly going under. The result is that we simmer in useless stress.
Stress is believed to be responsible for between 40% and 90% of illnesses and physician visits. This low level of tension might not promote action, but it does take a serious toll on well-being. We end up worn thin and easily subsumed by the mundane. We drown in ordinary day-to-day situations.
How do we stay afloat? In his TEDx talK Ebb and Flow: Lessons from Riding Giants, Dave Kalama shares an epic tale that includes almost actually drowning. One of his points is that to survive, he had to focus on one action at a time. He knew that trying to asses the entire situation would be defeating. Instead, he did one thing (a stroke towards the surface), then the next until he reached his goal. How does this translate to staying afloat each day?
MAKE A PLAN: Having a plan is the place to start. What’s the breakdown of today’s priorities? What are the steps necessary to be successful? Work without distraction at a time when creative energy is high. Remember to plan movement into the day, mundane tasks (drink water) and try using a not-to-do list. We stress less when we have little steps.
WHEN THE PLAN FAILS: Trust in the plan, but stay present and know when to change course. Things might not follow the vision, so be ready to adjust. No need for fight or flight when going with the flow.
TAKE TIME TO REFLECT: Reflection is a proven way to improve performance. Like getting to the surface and taking a breath, spend a minute reflecting and learn from what happened. What’s the state of affairs and how do we keep riding the waves? Pause and then paddle on.
AND BREATHE: Being aware of our breathing is an easy way to stay calm and focused. Ultimately, there’s little technique necessary: sit up straight and make sure to breathe slowly and evenly. There are a billion ways to expand on this simple practice, but just try and notice how breathing brings tranquility and clarity.
Distractions conspire to confuse us, stress levels are high and we’re left feeling like we’re being held under. Trying to solve all of our problems at once is a quick way to drown. Try these tips to stay afloat and contact us for more.