I've noticed this more and more about myself lately, and wondered if you have experienced a similar thing in your life?
When something happens in life where I must prepare to do something I don't want to do, no matter how hard I try, my mind seems to shut down and I find it hard to stay motivated or take action.
It's like your mind just shuts down and you become a useless blob for a period of time.
For example, I've recently been on an excellent roll building my businesses – as productive and motivated as I have ever been – but all of that seemed to come to a screaching halt this past few days, and I didn't even really notice until I had to help someone else go through a similar situation.
I've had a pretty tough go of it with a tooth infection, rounds of antibiotics and some other challenges this week that have led to more visits to my dentist than I've experienced in the last 3-years combined…and for me, because I had an absolutely brutal dentist as a kid, the dentist causes higher levels of anxiety for me than it would for most people.
But what is interesting is that I found I couldn't function properly leading up to the various dentist appointments. It wasn't that I was thinking of this the entire time, but I found myself taking comfort with food, television, reading magazines and other activities that ended up to be quite unproductive.
Does the same thing happen to you when you are leading up to an event, meeting or challenge that causes you anxiety, fear or uncertainty?
PREVENTING THE 'SHUT DOWN' EFFECT
Depending on your level of stress, anxiety, fear and uncertainty – losing productivity could become chronic if we can't figure out a way to get around this 'SHUT DOWN' effect our body uses to deal with our emotional challenges.
Here is what I've been doing lately to make sure I can defeat this 'Shut Down' effect – see if it works for you too…
Try and get to the root of the problem.
Why have you fallen into this pattern now – for most of us, this happens when we are overwhelmed or suffer anxiety over something in our lives. I gave the example of pending dentist appointments as one source of anxiety.
Often if we fear something coming – either a major change, major event, our mind goes into defensive mode and pretty much shuts down. After a few days of feeling like this, suddenly we have created a new learned habit – the bad habits become the norm.
We can't typically break out of that norm until one of two things happen:
1. We recognize and deal with the root cause – either by standing up to our fear and anxiety or getting past the event (you know how sometimes you get more energy after something you weren't looking forward to is over) — OR —
2. Something major happens that jolts us out of our current situation…say a health challenge, major embarassment or some other life altering event that suddenly breaks you out of your current pattern.
Counting on #2 is not exactly the best scenario – it may take a lifetime for such a 'JOLT' situation to occur, and nothing says that the major life change will be positive – so let's try and figure another way out of this unproductive mindset.
We really must work on understanding, admitting and then dealing with those situations that cause us anxiety. Sometimes these are very obvious – as were my dental challenges this past week – other times these are buried deeply and can be quite painful – as in the case of child abuse for example.
Whatever the case, you need to find out what is getting you down? What is causing your mind to 'Shut Down'
What is making you feel somewhat out of control?
Once you have the factor, then you need to reframe your response to that feeling so that it is no longer causing you to shut down. In my case, I like to do a few things to help put that fear or anxiety into perspective:
- Write it out 20 or more times – studies have shown that just getting out the frustration or anxiety is thereputic in itself and can help ease the burden on your mind
- I'm a big fan of meditation (don't worry, if you haven't been able to get meditation to work for you, check out Attracting Greatness which has many techniques, but also a kick-butt section on how to quickly & effectively master meditation). Why will meditation help? Meditation is wonderful for helping your mind NOT overreact to life's challenges. When meditation works, you can visualize the most anxiety-ridden situations in your life without the slightest overreaction or discomfort – in short – you learn to go with the flow and not be impacted so much by stress and anxiety.
- Prepare…anxiety, stress and fear go down if we better prepare ourselves for upcoming situations. Our typical response is to ignore the event or situation, but by dealing with it and preparing in advance, we can substantially reduce the impact that upcoming situation can have on our life.
Let's hear from you if you have experienced this 'Shut Down' effect in your life? What makes you 'Shut Down?"
What sorts of things in your life cause you enough anxiety or fear to make you less effective….we all have them, leave a comment if you would like to share yours.