We all know what happens to our bodies when we are under pressure. A certain amount can help us perform better, keeping us alert and able to avoid danger. Too much and the physical effects include, headaches, upset stomach, elevated blood pressure, chest pain, and problems sleeping. The emotional effects include depression and anxiety.
Know what happens to our brains?
Normally, our left and right hemispheres, which see the world from different perspectives, work very well together. Under pressure, we focus more on what it is we need to achieve making our left side more active. Evolutionary very clever because at the point in time when we most need concentration and focus, our brain responds and allow the logical, serious, analytical side to take charge. However, it is the creative right side of the brain, that permits us to see the bigger picture. Without the right hemisphere, we become less able to see new and original answers or ways forward.
Result is we begin to struggle with problem solving due to an inability to think of lots of ideas and solutions. We begin to not be able to see ‘the wood for the trees’ and our self-limiting concepts prevent innovation.
If you’re having difficulty finding an original solution, come away from the problem for a short time. As difficult as it is to remove yourself from what is important enough to place you under pressure, take a break. Stop thinking about it so hard, put it on the back burner – go do something else. Allow the right hemisphere some space to check out some different perspectives and get creative.
Actually, we all know this already don’t we – we’ve all been in the situation where it was only when we stopped trying so hard that we had a lightbulb burst into light inside our heads. Something we see, read or hear engages and suddenly we know what to do??
What we don’t all do already, when we are struggling to find an answer, is – relax! Remember it was only when Archimedes went for a relaxing soak in the bath that he worked out how to measure volume…and thus solve the problem of whether the king’s crown was indeed solid gold.