Updated: Aug 23, 2020
by Creina Schneier
Ease in the Thinking Environment refers to an internal state, an internal freedom from rush, urgency and anxiety. Ease has a very strong physiological component – people are drawn to those who are at ease. Can you think of someone who you are drawn to for their easefulness, their sense of calm? To put others at ease, it is important that we ourselves are at ease.
So, what would it take for you to have ease like this?
Try this S T O P exercise when you feel fear, anxiety, urgency:
Stop, pause what you are doing.
Take a breath. Bring your awareness to your breath, and to your body on the chair, feel the support of the chair and notice where in your body you are holding the stress, anxiety or tension. Notice your breathing and breathe regularly and deeply until you can feel the stress lift, or until you can put it to one side and remain focused on your breathing.
Observe yourself and your surroundings. Bring your awareness back to your body on the chair. What is happening right now?
Proceed with what you are engaged with. This exercise can take a few seconds or minutes, whatever you have and whatever you need. Before I take on a challenging task, I find it helpful to do this exercise, it brings a state of ease and focus that allows me to overcome any anxiety I may be feeling, or to constructively channel the anxiety into action.
A sense of ease allows us to think well for ourselves because when we are feeling at ease, our hearts beat consistently, pumping blood with oxygen to our brains so that we are able to access our prefrontal cortex, that part of the brain that allows us to think well for ourselves. When we are anxious or fearful, blood flow to our muscles is increased and the relatively less consistent blood flow to the brain results in less clear, focused thinking. Ease makes us smarter.
Another significant block inability to think well for ourselves is untrue limiting assumptions that we hold as being true, when in fact they are not true.
An assumption is a proposition that is taken for granted as if it were true without necessarily having the facts. It is based on what is possible without having the facts and without testing whether it is true or not.
To make ourselves and one another aware that we hold assumptions, and then to test them, there are some powerful questions we can ask ourselves or someone else, as follows:
What challenging step do you want to take in your life or work right now?
What might you be assuming that is stopping you from [INSERT NEXT STEP]?
What else might you be assuming that is stopping you from [INSERT NEXT STEP]?
Of those assumptions or any that spring to mind, what are you assuming that is most stopping you from [INSERT NEXT STEP]?
Do you think it is true that [INSERT KEY LIMITING ASSUMPTION]?
What are your reasons for thinking so?
EITHER: If it is not true that [INSERT KEY LIMITING ASSUMPTION] what are your words for what is true and liberating instead? OR: So, it is true that [INSERT KEY LIMITING ASSUMPTION]. What could you assume that is possible and helpful instead?
Unblocking untrue, limiting assumptions can open up new possibilities for feeling and action and thus enhance our quality of life. An untrue limiting assumption, in itself, can instill fear or anxiety in us, which makes it all the more important that we become aware of our assumptions and that we test them.
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