Chal­lenge? So­lu­tion - Jes­sica Lee

Do you ap­proach your chal­lenges with op­ti­mism and cre­ativ­ity or do you be­come over­whelmed and stuck in your prob­lems?

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You can be­gin to de­velop more re­silience, mas­tery and hap­pi­ness in your life by shift­ing how your brain con­cep­tu­alises and re­sponds to chal­lenges. By fo­cus­ing on so­lu­tions and not prob­lems you will dis­cover how you can keep mov­ing for­ward to achieve the things that truly mat­ter to you.

Choos­ing A So­lu­tion - Fo­cused Mind­set

So what can you do to shift into a so­lu­tion-fo­cused mind­set when you face your own chal­lenges?

The first step is to un­der­stand what is hap­pen­ing in your brain when you are faced with chal­lenges. When we get stuck in our prob­lems, our stress lev­els rise. Neu­ro­sci­en­tist, Dr Sarah Mckay says when our stress is high, our pre­frontal cor­tex goes “off­line”. This part of our brain helps us to think crit­i­cally and calmly about our chal­lenges. Our pre-frontal cor­tex al­lows us to more ef­fec­tively solve our prob­lems, but it is com­pro­mised when we be­come highly stressed or anx­ious.

At the same time, the emo­tional part of our brain, our amyg­dala, has “fired up” and is keep­ing us in sur­vival mode. The hy­per-ac­ti­va­tion of this part of our brain fo­cuses our at­ten­tion on the risks and worst-case sce­nar­ios. This stops us from see­ing the so­lu­tions and op­por­tu­ni­ties that ex­ist in our chal­lenges. Our amyg­dala can def­i­nitely keep us stuck and over­whelmed.

To shift from a prob­lem-fo­cused mind­set to a so­lu­tion-fo­cused mind­set we need to re-ac­ti­vate our pre-frontal cor­tex and calm down our amyg­dala. One way we can do that is by ask­ing our­selves a se­ries of ques­tions that ac­ti­vate a more crit­i­cal way of think­ing which fo­cuses our mind on so­lu­tions and not emo­tions.

These ques­tions al­low us to look at our chal­lenges from a new per­spec­tive and can re­mind us of our own in­ter­nal agency:

1. What can I do in this sit­u­a­tion?

- What skills, abil­i­ties and con­nec­tions can I use to move for­ward?

2. What are the hid­den op­por­tu­ni­ties in this chal­lenge?

- Amidst this chal­lenge, what are the pos­si­ble best-case sce­nar­ios?

3. How can I re-frame this sit­u­a­tion?

- What can be gained from this chal­lenge?

Know­ing how to shift your mind­set when faced with life’s in­evitable chal­lenges will al­low you to stay in con­trol even when you are faced with change and un­cer­tainty. I love the quote from ten­nis leg­end and au­thor, Arthur Ashe, which says, “To achieve great­ness, start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.”

To overcome your chal­lenges, be­gin by fo­cus­ing on what you can do, not on what you can’t. Chal­lenge your brain to look for the hid­den op­por­tu­ni­ties, keep mov­ing for­ward and con­sciously choose a new way to “frame” your sit­u­a­tion.

Bio Jes­sica Lee is the owner of The Spark Ef­fect and is a healthy brain ad­vo­cate. She is a key­note speaker, trainer, writer and busi­ness con­sul­tant. She is pas­sion­ate about teach­ing neu­ro­science-based strate­gies to equip busi­nesses to bet­ter use their brains to re­duce over­whelm and stress while boost­ing pro­duc­tiv­ity, creative prob­lem solv­ing and wellbeing. Jes­sica is a key­note speaker in this area and also runs work­place train­ing.

Get in touch with Jes­sica at jes­sica@thes­park­ef­ +61 424 358 334 or via http://www.thes­park­ef­

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