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  • Rhys Johnstone

Stress hijacks your brain: how mindfulness can help

Trying to run a business or lead a team in the time of Covid-19 is stressful. Never before has so much changed so quickly, never has the future seemed more uncertain. We are bombarded with dire economic data and eye-watering forecasts on a daily basis. On top of the normal emotional ups and downs of the journey, and the isolation that we sometimes experience, this creates a huge amount of stress. Stress is a real killer. Study after study has documented the deadly impact on our health of chronic stress. But for entrepreneurs and business leaders, stress has another major downside: it can make you less innovative and impact your decision-making, at just the time that creative thinking is needed to steer you through this time. When we are trapped in the stress loop, the brain defaults to tried and tested thinking and behaviours - the exact opposite of creative flow. We hunker down, shrinking our view of what is possible. Instead of generating options and trying new things, we revert to what is safe and familiar. On top of this, stress sucks all our mental energy as we focus on the perceived problem. We are exhausted, and there is nothing left for creative thinking. Instead, we find ourselves caught in negative thinking patterns, wondering whether we are good enough, wondering what people will think of our leadership. Sometimes we start to doubt whether we will ever be able to climb out of the hole that the world has fallen into. Anxiety is waiting for us around every corner, it seems, draining our energy, sowing confusion and doubt. Sometimes we just feel stuck, unable to move forward in our careers or just in our day. It is as if we have been swept away in a fast flowing river, or fallen overboard and floundering at sea, or have fallen through the ice and can’t pull ourselves back to safety.

So how can we break out of the stress loop and back into the innovation zone? Ironically, one of the best therapies for stress is creativity, but how can we be creative when stress has hijacked the creative brain? We need something to break the pattern and create some space, a calm beachhead where we can re-connect with our creative side and then move forward. At these times, there is a simple, brief mindfulness practice we can call on to help ground us, to calm and focus our minds, and allow us to re-engage our creativity. We can do it anywhere, any time, as often as we need it. It only takes three minutes and doesn’t require meditation cushions, bells or chants. It is at hand any time we need it. It’s almost as if you were able to throw yourself a life-line and slowly reel yourself back to the shore, back on board, back onto dry land. If that sounds good to you, you are invited to download our free guided meditation using the link below - it only takes three minutes and is simple and easy to do. Download your free guided meditation now

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