You can facilitate positive, meaningful change for yourself through a few simple steps. I encourage you to direct your attention to solutions, versus an over-focus on the problem. There is a scientific basis to this approach – the more we focus on a problem, the more we can move into an emotional state that makes us feel threatened in some way.
For example, when we focus on a problem, we might feel incompetent, disliked, or unimportant. These feelings cause the limbic system to become activated, making it difficult to develop insights, which is key to creating lasting change.
Try it out right now.
Consider an area of your life where you would like to create change. An example of a dilemma would be that you want to spend more time with family, but you can't get your work done in a reasonable period of time.
I am going to ask you some questions that might allow you to develop insight into your own thinking. You can use this insight to identify what you might do differently to address the problem or challenge. These questions are useful for you to consider anytime you are faced with a dilemma which you do not know how to best resolve.
You will notice that the questions do not go into the details of the situation, but rather have you focus on your thinking. By directing attention to your thinking, you are more likely to develop useful insights. Please write your answers down or discuss them with someone who can help you clarify your thinking.
How long have you been thinking about the situation?
What impact does this thinking have on you?
How often do you think about it (how many times a day)?
How clear has your thinking been?
How important is this issue to you (on a scale of 1 to 10)?
What priority have you given it (on a scale of 1 to 10)?
What priority do you think you should give it?
How would it feel to have this issue resolved?
How satisfied are you with the amount of thought you have given to the situation?
How committed are you to resolving the dilemma?
What insights are you having now about the situation?
What do you now notice about your thinking?
What are one or two things you will do differently now that you have thought about this?
Based upon the insights you have developed as a result of addressing these questions,begin to identify specific action steps that you would like to take to move from insight to action.
Catherine Hambley, PhD, is a consulting psychologist who offers brain-based strategies to organizations, leaders and teams to improve their effectiveness and promote greater success. She can be reached at email@example.com.