We all get to a point where life feels like it is too much to handle. We look up to find that we are in the thick of things that need to get done. Our rational minds tend to panic in these moments. We might rush to find solutions to complete all these things at once. While it is well intended, this type of thinking will lead to increased stress and put a strain on our relationships. It is an indicator that we are attempting to do it all on our own.
There is a better way to do things that involves slowing down our thinking when life starts to move at an uncomfortable pace. While it might seem counterintuitive to do so, it actually leads to greater productivity, focus, and effectiveness. It is like riding waves on a surfboard. As the waves get bigger and things start moving faster, we have to slow down our thought processes. Even though the wave is bigger and faster, it takes longer to get to the bottom and the turns feel slower because they are so much broader.
There is a fifth-grade student in our district who was having trouble with organization in the area of math. As a team, we met to create some new goals and strategies that would support her with this. We wanted to make sure she was prepared to move on to middle school where organization becomes even more important. To do this, we made a checklist that broke down the steps required for staying organized in math.
When we taught the student these simple steps everything got easier. The first step was to pause, take a breath and calmly look at what was required. Next, she would think about where on the page she was going to show her work. After that, she would make sure her answer was written clearly and in the correct place for the teacher to find it. This simple checklist took all the stress out of the process so that the student could focus more easily on solving the problems. As a result, the student’s confidence rose. It was easier to communicate what she had done with her teacher and classmates. She felt relaxed, rather than overwhelmed when handed a math assignment.
Perhaps you have been feeling overwhelmed and rushing through certain areas of your life. It is time to slow down and change the way you think about things. By taking a pause, rather than diving in head first, you will have greater access to your inner and outer resources. You will realize that you are never alone. If help is required, you will know exactly who to ask. Now is the time to tap into your full potential. You simply have to slow down enough to let it in.
Edward Biagiotti is the Inclusion Specialist for Culver City Unified School District. He is also the co-host of “Funniest Thing! with Darrell and Ed” podcast on iTunes. For questions, comments, and ideas for future columns, send an email to: EdwardBiagiotti@ccusd.org