Rise Above Challenge: Day 9
Problems into Projects
Today’s challenge can either be a journaling or mindfulness exercise, and it is to practice reframing a problem into a project.
Sometimes when we are facing a huge challenge, it's too easy to get overwhelmed with the entirety of it. This eventually leads to more anxiety about the situation, which then leads to not thinking as clearly.
By reframing it into a project, it tells your brain this is a smaller-sized, short term challenge that I can accomplish. Now that you believe you can accomplish this challenge, you start to think of all the possible ways to do so. You will also not feel as anxious about this project, so you start to get more creative about potential solutions, which opens up new ideas or new ways of thinking about the challenge in the first place.
Let's say you are unfortunately one of the millions of Americans that got laid off during this crisis. By reframing “how am I going to get a job?” into a project of “how can I make $1000 just to pay rent?” Since this seems more doable, your brain starts to think of all the things you can do. Then you start to get creative and have fun with it: maybe I can use my craft skills and sell [insert thing] to my neighborhood. Maybe I can make care packages and offer to ship them to people as a service. Maybe I should sell that art I’ve always talked about putting on etsy…
When we get overwhelmed or anxious (fear-based state) our bodies produce cortisol, and this literally narrows our brain's capacity and thinking ability (because how are you going to daydream when you are running from a bear?). Reframing problems is a great brain hack/mindfulness practice to tell your brain “everything is ok, we can do this.” This keeps your brain out of fight or flight mode, and into a state where you can come up with new solutions and take action.