In life, we all face tough times that can really test us. Whether it’s a personal problem, a work challenge, or the unpredictable world around us, these moments can be a real struggle.
What determines how we handle these challenges and how we come out on the other side are the mental tools at our disposal. In this blog post, we’ll talk about five crucial mental tools that can make a big difference when things get hard.
In Positive Intelligence, we teach a concept called a “Saillor’s Mindset.” ⛵
The premise is that we cannot control life – something that has become so clear recently – just as we cannot control the wind or the waves of the sea 🌊
What we *can* control is how we navigate through the waves and react to the circumstances – how we shift the sails to match the direction of the new wind or how we adjust the sailing speed to the current waves.
Ask yourself –
– How can you adjust your goals to the capacity and resources (time, energy, money) you currently have?
– What adjustments can you make to your routine and habits to suit the current situation (frequency, length, location, etc…)?
– Are there alternative ways to achieve the same results (or a sufficiently similar result) that *are* available to you right now?
The secret ingredient to the success of this mindset? Letting go of what you thought “should be.” As long as you hold on to what you thought “would” happen or “should have” happened and didn’t – you will never be able to adjust yourself to what is actually happening *now*.
During a crisis, like in any storm, there is a feeling that everything changes. Like the waves will keep hitting your boat over and over again until it might feel like you will never be able to raise your head above water.
So try to think of what anchors you can create that will help you not drown or drift too far ⚓
The secret ingredient here, too – is to try to focus on the things you have control over – as small as possible instead of trying to control the bigger things and fighting a lost battle.
For example: creating a daily routine, as basic as possible, can provide a sense of stability amidst chaos. Even a combination of small and consistent habits can make a big difference, like writing, meditation, or even taking a long shower at the end of the day.
One of the biggest mistakes people make in the context of work-life balance – and also in cases of crisis – is to perceive “balance” in terms of time and not in terms of energy.
Balance is a feeling – a feeling of satisfaction, of flow, of contentment, of exhaling with relief.
That feeling has nothing to do with how many hours you worked and how many hours you “leisured”. Ever had a day you worked a few hours and felt exhausted and a day you worked 12 hours but felt completely accomplished and inflow? It’s because that feeling comes from the balance of your mental energy – how much mental energy was drained and how much was refueled 🔋🧠✨
Now, I don’t need to tell you that one of the most draining things is guilt or self-judgment.
The secret here? Let go of the guilt and let yourself be okay with what is:
Don’t feel guilty for not working when you rest.
And don’t feel guilty for not resting when you work.
Feeling guilty won’t improve the situation – it will only make you feel worse.
And if the challenge you’re facing drains you mentally – try to strive for balance by fueling your mental energy with things that make you feel good (no matter how long they take) 🧠✨
Try to limit the amount of time you spend worrying about the situation. Yes, it may feel like it’s out of your hands, but try to set specific times to worry or obsess about the details – and in the rest of the time – let it go.
This is also a great opportunity to practice boundaries with others to protect your mental energy. Let people know when you need time alone and when you can (and want to) participate in conversations or activities. Because your mental energy is probably limited – try to be pickier than usual about the things you say “yes” to (whether it’s commitments from work, requests from friends, or even “fun stuff”).
How can I write a post about mental tools and not mention that practicing mindfulness is one of the most effective tools to reduce stress?
Stress, anxiety (existential, economic, social), fear, and worry – all live in the past or in the future; if we learn to focus on the present moment – even if for a few seconds – we can find peace and reduce stress.
The more we practice being present in the moment – not necessarily in meditation – but in everyday life – when we drink our morning coffee, when we walk, shower, or even wash the dishes – we will develop a higher ability to return to the present moment even in moments of crisis.
Hope these tools were helpful, and if you need extra support with implementing these tools – “The Mindfu(e)l Club” is the perfect place for you!! 🧠✨ I’ll be teaching you my unique framework for managing your mental energy and many other mental tools so you can be less stressed, more productive at work, and make sure you don’t end your days tapped out.
My 3-step formula to increase productivity, reduce stress, and create more balance in a busy world.
Want to start your week with energy that will keep you focused and motivated to get more things done?