Shhhhh, please, I’m trying to think! 5 Steps to Quiet the NOISE so You Can Think & Make Decisions

By Lara Brunstrom, Sterling Fire Coaching

Often when we are under stress we talk about what’s going on. We talk to our family, friends, coworkers… sometimes anyone who will stay long enough to listen after all other options have been exhausted. I’m curious about how this helps … or if it is counterproductive.  

Studies show venting is counterproductive, reinforces the story we are telling ourselves (confirmation bias), and solidifies us in our hostile or agitated state. Advice or opinions from friends or family rarely speak to our own values and best interests. 

So why all the chatter?

From a coach’s perspective, I can tell you, this is a whole lotta noise that is drowning out your true feelings. Guilt, shame, and societal pressures creep in. And before you know it you are not even making decisions based on anything other than the popular (or loudly expressed) opinion at happy hour. 

5 steps to a quieter mind and grounded decision making:

  1. Pause 

I mean like really, pause. Stop what you’re doing. Notice what’s around you. What does the air smell like? What is the temperature of the air? Is there a breeze? Notice how you are feeling. If you have labeled it, is that label accurate? Or have you been on “repeat” perpetuating that label because you haven’t stopped to break the pattern?

  1. Breathe 

We use so little of our full breathing capacity daily. It’s as if we are unintentionally suffocating ourselves. So after you pause, breathe. 

Breathe in deep for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, exhale for 4 seconds. Repeat several times. This technique is proven and utilized in highly different arenas, where it may be labeled differently, yet is effective in all. Navy Seals use it and call It box breathing.  Yoga uses a similar technique called Pranayama. Whether you want to be as badass as a Navy Seal or full of inner zen-like a yogi, being able to manage your busy mind and stressors is pure power. Bottom line, breathing forces your pause to go on just a little longer.

  1. Visualize the outcome you want 

Yes, visualize what you want. What is the life you are headed toward?  Without a plan, without vision, you are bound to reach stagnation sooner than expected. So, start building that vision now, work toward it, use it when you are down. Having a bad day? Pause, breathe, and look at your visualized future, allow it to inspire you, allow it to give you strength. 

  1. Check-in with yourself

How are you showing up? At work, for your family, with your friends? Are you showing up aligned with the values you have? Are you showing up as your best self? 

You know the drill by now… 

Pause, Breathe, Visualize, and ask…

Is this the best me possible? If not, then what adjustments do I need to make? 

  1. Forward 

Moving forward. On with your day, your week, your year… your life. 

In both life and divorce, making important decisions can be difficult. While coaching my clients, we work on these 5 steps regularly. 

Giving yourself the time and space to really understand your desired outcome and the best path to get there is important.

Decision-making with the noise is decision-making Outside In.

Your life-forming decisions need to come from Inside, in order to be relevant and meaningful to you.


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