One of the challenges I remember from when I first got exposed to coaching and mindset work was getting a handle on being so much in my head. I was the classic go to bed exhausted but end up lying there with racing thoughts. A negative event or situation would cause me to get stressed and upset and I would immediately lose perspective and worry about the worst-case scenario and try to figure out how to regain control.
Over the years I’ve gotten curious about how and why that loss of perspective happens. After seeing it in myself and then also surface in the thinking of my clients, I knew there had to be some mechanism of our survival brain at work.
The answer is yes—we are hardwired to lose perspective. Our brain will zoom into our view of a situation and magnify adversity when we experience negative emotions. It’s like our nervous system cries wolf rather than waiting for the facts.
The advantage of understanding how a survival pattern like this works gives us a strategic advantage as high performers. We can consciously use psychological immersion and distance as perspectives for our thinking.
Psychological immersion is when we find ourselves lost in our storyline. It creates further stress, volatility, and struggle. This is where I used to get stuck.
Over time I’ve practiced—and I coach my clients to practice—psychological distance. Zoom out. That means we try to look at our situation with greater perspective and objectivity. That in turn opens the door for applying intelligence in the form of constructive alternatives.
Getting outside, going for a walk, exercising, meditating, listening to music, and talking with another person can also help our ability to zoom out when we need to.
What works for you?
Coach Liane Wansbrough