For over twenty

For over twenty years I’ve been writing and speaking about the subjects of change, resilience, leadership and dealing with uncertainty.

So, as we all learn to navigate unchartered waters in unprecedented times, I wanted to share four ways we can cope.

Understand how your  brain works In his bestselling book Thinking Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman talks about two systems in our brain.

Our Fast system is our primitive, emotional brain.

I often represent this brain with a red baseball cap.

It’s the oldest part of our brain and its primary purpose is to keep us alive.

Its number one priority is our survival. It’s this part of our brain that triggers our fight, flight or freeze response. However, because it’s super-fast in how it processes information it often reacts to situations without having the full facts. If it had a motto it would be ‘Act first, think later.’

There are times when this part of our brain is incredibly helpful.

For over twenty If a driver suddenly swerves into your lane, you brake immediately. (A string of expletives may normally follow!) You don’t think, or weigh up your choices, you just react.

How To Cope In A Crisis In the current Coronavirus crisis, our Red Cap brain is on high alert. In fact it’s on overdrive.

Our very survival, and that of our loved ones, is under potential threat and this is dominating how we engage with the world right now.

For over twenty How To Cope In A Crisis We are living in uncertain times, equivalent to walking through a maze blindfolded.

No one is sure what the future holds exactly, and to compensate we crave information.

Sadly some of that information is neither helpful nor true.

It’s fake, and it can make us lose our ability to think and respond calmly under pressure.

That’s where our Slow brain, which I represent with a blue baseball cap, comes in. It’s the logical and rational part of our brain.

It helps us to analyse data, to reflect and to plan.

Unfortunately, it’s our slow part of the brain that we need to consciously and intentionally access.

While Red Cap brain reacts impulsively and on auto pilot, accessing Blue Cap brain takes longer.

 As a result, we need to acknowledge and recognise that at times we may all react to the Coronavirus crisis irrationally.

We can lose perspective and panic.

 When we’re in survival mode our first thoughts, perhaps understandably, are about our needs and the needs of our close family.

We don’t really need all those toilet rolls and paracetamol.

By stocking up excessively we may create a degree of security for ourselves, but also potential pain for others.

So it’s important we recognise the impact of Red Cap brain: that it is operating instinctively, in a reactionary (and often illogical) way to the challenges we face.

That’s why learning to slow down and taking a moment to pause and access Blue Cap brain is vital at this time.

Manage Your Mental Diet The ocean is full of water, but it’s possible to be lost at sea and die of thirst.

In fact, drinking salt water is not only detrimental to your health, it also makes you thirstier.

The same can happen with our consumption of information. We crave certainty but this can lead to us feeding our minds with more and more news that isn’t always true.

Stories that can, on occasion, exaggerate the real picture and provide a distorted view of reality.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not a member of the happy clappy brigade. What we are facing is incredibly serious and unprecedented. In no way do I want to downplay

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not a member of the happy clappy brigade. What we are facing is incredibly serious and unprecedented. In no way do I want to downplay

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