â€œI feel Iâ€™m running on a hamster wheel with no scope to get off. â€œ
â€œIâ€™ve no time to think or look at anything else because Iâ€™m always swamped with so many things Iâ€™ve to do.â€
How often have you felt this way or heard your friends, partners, colleagues say this at various points in your day or their day?
Several of my coaching relationships start at this point.
We all go through this at several points in our life or at specific points in our day.
Is it a regular phenomena or something you feel at specific points in your day or specific periods of time at a stretch?
If you look around you, youâ€™ll realize many people are stressed out or at a breaking point.
What are these stressorsÂ ?
Is it with work?
Is it with some transitions that you are going through at work or in life?
Is it with overall life in general in terms of your dreams and priorities?
What is the cause of these stressors?Â
Is it fear of being dispensable and losing your job or not being able to advance in your area of talent? Or being forced on account of lack of choices ?
What about your day-to-day stressors? Is it because you are not taking the required break ? Are you facing the fear of missing out, if you are not seemingly present in what you are doing ?
What is the impact of these stressors?
– are you being thoughtful in your responses on email and other forms of communication?
– do you tend to not pay attention to the tasks that you are doing and to the people around you ?
– how often do you play the blame game in these moments ?
– do you feel threatened and sense of fear or a fight or flight mode?
Why does this happenÂ â€“ our brain is complex and research from various neuroscientists are discovering more and more that the parts of the brain work together as a symphony, so as we separate one part out, we have to remember that it doesnâ€™t work in isolation. TheÂ prefrontal cortexÂ (PFC), which is the executive center controls our ability to understand, think, decide, analyze, memorize, inhibit and recall.Â Â So the PFC is vital to our daily survival, and yet there are many factors (environmental, hormonal, and genetic ) that can impact how well it works. The activity of the PFC Is also extremely energy-consuming.
If anything internal or external is impacting the functioning of the PFC, the activities relating to the 5 things above become harder and harder. Decisions will be harder to make, you wonâ€™t understand things as easily and inhibiting behaviors, or emotions will be harder.
Most of us are used to reading a proposal, at the same trying to understand it, possibly recall something from earlier information. The more we add to this mix, the tougher it gets for the PFC to manage.
And one of the biggest drains to the PFC is inhibition, humans have the ability to socially control behaviors and emotions. And we need this to be able to work.Â These inhibitions could be in the form of not deciding to drink another cup of coffee orÂ go to dinner with a friend since you have to complete the task at hand.
Social Control is draining to the brain, and that thrown in with the other activities of the PFC fuels the drain. The more drained we become, the less effective we are at being able to understand, think, decide,Â question, memorize or recall.
The more the stress/threat to the PFC, the greater the chances of ourÂ amygdalaÂ (flight or fight response part of our brain ) to take over, thus increasing our emotional response, and reducing our ability to use the PFC in general.
Do we need to take breaks ?
Research participants were nearly twice as likely to give the correct response to a complex decision-making problem if they were distracted by a simple three-minute number-matching task before being asked for their answers, says a team led by MarlÃ¨ne Abadie of the University of Toulouse in France. A more-demanding distraction had no such effect. Extracted fromÂ HBR
How do we get away from these breaking points or stressors?
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