I sometimes find myself having the best intentions – like with a renewed commitment to eat healthier, excercise more regularly, read my Bible more … the list seems to go on and on.
Why can’t I seem to follow through? As I set out on a quest to answer that question, I found there actually is a reason why I seem to struggle. And from doing some extensive research, I discovered it’s all in my head – Literally!
Research shows that our brains aren’t intended to function with all the stress our culture throws at us. Stress … whether from being chased by a bear or trying to answer 50 emails while helping our 6th grader with new math produces the same response – the fight or flight response.
When this happens (and we have all experienced that sense of panic!), a part of our brain lights up and shuts down all rational thinking, reasoning, creativity, focus – all the things I need to follow through. Research also shows that there are ways to lessen the effects of the fight or flight response – some practical things to do. After trying many, here are the ones that proved really helpful.
- Practicing mindfulness. Sounds fancy but it’s really just paying attention on purpose to what you are doing in the moment.
- Meditate. Again, not as intimidating as it sounds. It just means unplugging, taking some deep breaths, and rebooting.
- Practice gratitude. Be grateful. Say it, write it, express it.
We can have more than just good intentions. It takes a little effort, but it is definitely worth it!