Monday, December 15, 2008

CLUES How will you make decisions in 2009

How will you make decisions in 2009? Logically or emotionally?

I didn’t know whether we would live or die. Nearly 10 years ago, on March 22, 1999 my husband and I were trapped in the centre of category 5 Cyclone Vance when it hit Exmouth, Western Australia. We were there for a scuba diving trip. The storm surge was predicted to be 3.6 metres so we got our scuba gear ready – potentially to use inside our holiday townhouse!

Happily we survived the devastation unharmed and indeed returned to Exmouth the following year to dive with the Whale Sharks as originally planned. Although 10% of all the buildings were either destroyed or damaged, Exmouth had rebuilt and looked beautiful.

How will you live out the global financial storm?

I’m sharing this story with you because the current global financial downturn might feel as devastating as a category 5 cyclone. Some people already have or will lose their jobs. Some will feel their homes and incomes are at risk. Some will see, as I have done, superannuation and retirement funds slashed and plans that were dependent on these funds, have now dramatically changed.

Many people will worry about their financial situation. And your brain won’t help you during this time, unless you take charge of it – not the other way around.

Logical or emotional decision-making – YOU decide

At the risk of sounding like an old record – please remember the essence of what I’ve been speaking and writing about for years. It will help you weather any storm.

Your brain automatically focuses on your fears. As you know I call this The Almond Effect®. And what we are experiencing now is the worst economic example of this – when fears have become a reality.

Although a correction was due in some places, I believe the world financial situation is a psychological over-reaction by governments and businesses that everyday people are caught in. It should not have gone as far as it has but as we know, toxic emotions are contagious. We have seen a global spread of negative emotion at a speed and with an intensity that is almost impossible to believe.

So right now I encourage you to stay in control of your lives. You can keep your fears, anxieties and worries in check in your life and your decision making by using my STAR approach. Take the time to read about it again now. I know it will help you.


S - Stop: simply take notice the moment you become aware that fear, anxiety, uncertainty are impacting you and your ability to ‘think straight’. Your body will tell you – increased heart rate, tummy churning over, tears forming, flushed face, the shakes – everyone responds in their own way. How does your body tell you your brain is stressed?

T – Think: immediately take several deep breaths to minimize the impact of the adrenaline that’s swirling around your body. Acknowledge that your emotions are in play and ask yourself: Where are they coming from? What’s triggering this?

A – Act: Do something to control your emotions before you make any decisions. Here’s an idea from one of my closest friends: “I imagine my fears and anxieties are tied to me with string. Then I cut the string and let them fall away.” It’s a great idea.

And here’s the approach I use most: First, I name out loud the emotion I’m feeling: e.g. ‘I am feeling really anxious right now.’ (Or words to that effect!) Then I ask myself: ‘What’s the worst thing that could happen? And what would I do about it?’ This usually works – because both of these techniques engage the logical part of the brain and slow down our amygdalae. With practice, you can, at will, override your immediate emotional reactions.

R. - Rewire: Practice this over and over – whenever you feel your mind being clouded by irrational thoughts. You’ll be amazed at how much control you build into your life, the quality of the decisions you make and the relationships you have with others.

Me in a cozzie - Support me in my Craziness

Occasionally over the last two years I have shared with you my personal examples of overcoming The Almond Effect® in my quest to raise funds for cancer research as I learn to swim in the ocean and participate in ocean races.

If you’re interested and want to see how I’m going, please enjoy the short picture show and if you feel inclined to support me, that would be so appreciated.

In any event, enjoy the 4 minute video!

Happy Holidays

For those of you who celebrate Christmas – I hope you have a wonderful time with your family and friends or whoever you choose to spend this time with.

Even those of you who do not celebrate at this time, will inevitably get caught up in the season. So to all of you, warm wishes for a safe and happy holiday period.

And I wish you a fearless 2009 when you turn challenges into opportunities and potentially difficult times into the best outcome you could have dreamed for.
Take care