Do you ever feel completely overwhelmed? Consumed with the sheer volume and complexity of information that we are faced with so much of the time.
I was talking to a parent at a local school recently who was recalling a chat with their 12 year old during LGBT awareness week. This was a great reminder to me of how complex life has become:
12 YEAR OLD: “I feel really anxious because I just don’t know which ‘gender category’ I am – I just don’t relate to any of the descriptions.”
PARENT: “Just be YOU – the label isn’t important. What is important is that you accept yourself for who you are, and you accept others for who they are, even when you are different.”
The focus had been misplaced on the label rather than the message “Be kind, Be accepting and Be inclusive” and this simple reframe helped the 12 year old get more clarity and reduce their anxiety.
Life is far more complex today with far more choices about everything – what we eat, what we do, how we do it, where we do it, with who etc etc.
Whilst it’s fantastic to have lots of choices it makes it harder to make decisions, causing high levels of stress and anxiety instead of the joy and excitement that choice is meant to provide us. And the less experience you have, the greater the stress and anxiety as you are less able to sift out the information that is irrelevant or unimportant. It’s no surprise that our young people are far more anxious than we might have been at their age.
When we are faced with high volumes of information or complexity, (and no time!), we aren’t able to fully explore and analyse everything to make decisions and respond appropriately. Indeed, our cognitive brains are not designed to cope with high volumes of data.
So we have a choice (yes, another one!):
- We can filter the information so our cognitive brains have less to work on by simplifying, removing unnecessary information, chunking, asking others etc; OR
- We can tap into a powerful resource that we all have – our emotional brain – where all our knowledge, experiences and behaviour patterns are stored and inform our instincts.
So next time you feel overwhelmed, instead of trying to consume and analyse all the information, tune into your emotional response first – what is it telling you about how you have interpreted the situation? And, as a leader of others, KEEP IT SIMPLE, to reduce triggers for stress and anxiety:
- Encourage them to do the basics well (diet, sleep, exercise etc);
- Reconnect with what is important; and
- Focus on enjoyment instead of outcomes – when people are having fun they work harder and perform better which leads to the best results!
Please share anything you feel inspired to share and have fun. And if you need help or a dose of inspiration then please get in touch.
Love and best wishes
Reduce Stress & Anxiety in the Workplace
Leaders with high levels of emotional intelligence are more attuned to the insights that emotions provide. They are able to manage emotions, their own and others, more effectively and create environments in which people can perform at their best with improved wellbeing, more enjoyment and better productivity.
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And finally, in the spirit of simplicity…
I hope you have enjoyed this newsletter and that it’s inspiring you to keep things simple to improve your life, happiness and performance.
If you know anyone who might enjoy or benefit from this newsletter please share this with them so they can sign-up. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or you would like a chat please email me at [email protected].
Have a great day!