5 Steps to Take Your Power Back During Times of High Stress
Written by: Laura Mullis, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise
Have you been feeling less motivated lately? Perhaps you are feeling blocked or frozen in your business? Maybe you have been waking up each morning with a goal list staring you in the face, and the sight of it causes you to want to curl into a ball. If this has been your experience over the past 4-5 months, I want you to know; you are not alone. Many people who are by nature self-motivated and ambitious have found themselves feeling stuck since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In this article, I want to take a few minutes and talk about why? I also want to tell you how to start overcoming it.
One of the main reasons why you might be feeling mentally stuck and blocked is because our thoughts directly impact a part of our body called the nervous system. The nervous system is responsible for controlling everything you don’t have to think about, including our drive for survival. If you have ever encountered a situation that startled you or felt like a life threat, you will probably be familiar with this drive for survival. It is most often called the fight/flight system and is responsible for the spikes in adrenaline and cortisol we have when we feel our lives are in danger.
However, apart from the fight/flight response, the nervous system also has another way to help us survive called the freeze response. The freeze response is less well known because it is usually only activated if a person is under inescapable or prolonged life threat. When the freeze response becomes activated, our body is flooded with chemicals that take away our ability to think, act or fight. In essence, we start to shut down, become frozen, lose our ability to think and become more immobile.
How does all this relate to feeling stuck and blocked in your business or life?
If you are like me, when COVID-19 hit, you probably started to experience internal panic. You might have started to think thoughts such as: What will happen to my business? What will my business look like once this is over? Will my family be okay? Will I be okay?
Along with your individual thoughts, a collective thought wave of fear and uncertainty crippled the globe. Most of these collective thoughts had an undertone of “will we survive this?” This undertone reverberated over and over through our conversations with others and news broadcasts. It was also intensified because of drastic lifestyle changes we had to make to stay safe.
Over time thoughts of fear, uncertainty and dread started to implant firmly into our mind. Once implanted into our minds, these thoughts, in turn, started to make us believe our immediate survival was in jeopardy. Once our bodies think immediate survival is in jeopardy, it switches on the nervous system. For most of us, our nervous system quickly assessed that we could not fight or flee the invisible enemy that is threatening us, so it left our bodies with the only option; shutting down.
This state of shut down is, in essence, our bodies' way of conserving energy and staying alive in the presence of an inescapable threat. It is not a moral failing, laziness or lack of motivation. It is a nature-driven response that is being activated in an attempt to help us. However, it is not helping us. It is actually causing us more problems, more stress and less productivity. The big questions are How do we overcome nature? How do we take ourselves from this state of being blocked to one of action and forward momentum?
Here are 5 easy steps for overcoming a shut down and blocked state in your life and business:
1. Understand what is going on.
Understanding is always the first step to breaking any pattern or habit. Now that you have read this article, you can check this one off your list because you now understand your response is completely normal and natural. It is just nature trying to help!
2. Stop judging and blaming yourself.
If you are currently telling yourself harsh words such as “You are lazy and unmotivated” or “What is wrong with you?” then I want to encourage you to stop. Those words will only increase the problem as harsh words also feel threatening and increase the body’s stress/survival response.
3. Offer yourself compassion.
Compassion is always one of the biggest steps toward healing. The next time you feel unmotivated or shut down, recognize what is actually happening and offer your mind and body gratitude for trying to help you survive.
4. Speak the truth to the situation.
Once you recognize what is actually happening and have offered gratitude for the body’s will to survive you can then speak truth into your mind. Our thoughts are powerful. They can shift our entire present moment experience, so choose to tell your mind truthful thoughts. For instance, when I feel shut down coming on, I tell my mind “I am safe and well right now.” Feeding my mind realistic thoughts about the present moment centers me and allows me to focus on the only moment that truly matters; right now.
5. Embody compassion.
Once you have identified your truthful thought, I want to invite you to embody this thought. You can do this a number of ways. You could feel your feet on the floor as you say this thought, or perhaps clench your fists tight as you say the thought or my favorite put your hand over your heart and say the truthful thought.
I want to encourage you to practice these steps during times of high stress or when you feel your motivation starting to shut down.
They work. How do I know? I use them myself.
When I am overly stressed or shutting down, I pause, take a deep breath, put my hand over my heart and say, “Right now I am safe and well.” After practicing this a few times, I feel myself become more present, motivated and ready to take on the next goal in life or my business.
Laura Mullis, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Laura Mullis is a rapid transformational hypnotherapist and life coach. Her focus is on helping people identify and overcome the negative beliefs and patterns that lead to self-sabotage. Her approach is a unique blend of conscious mindset work, subconscious reprogramming and inspired action coaching. Every intervention she offers is focused on understanding and uprooting the reason for patterns of self-sabotage in your life. Laura’s ultimate goal is to help people learn to love themselves and become so confident in life and business they will, in turn, empower others.