Stress and challenge is everywhere. It’s endemic as we struggle to make a success of our lives, careers or our business ventures. I often get emails from folks wanting to fix the pain caused by their stressful full-on roles. Jobs and careers are on the line, businesses hang in the balance and families are feeling the strain.
It’s just about impossible to get that all elusive ‘Work-Life Balance’ as our long-hours culture takes hold, bank lending retrenches and job losses rise. I for one love a good challenge to boot me out of my comfort zone from time to time, but it can all get a bit much and becomes an adrenalin-fuelled ride without any real purpose.
So how to retain deal with stress and enhance our coping abilities? Apparently there’s a very cost-effective solution all around us. The Guardian recently reported on the positive psychological effect of listening to birds on our creativity and sense of wellbeing.
Like most theories these days, what to you and me may seem the ‘bleedin’ obvious’ has to be subjected the to rigours of scientific research, to prove the hypothesis that birdsong “… helps us relax, can assist our ability to complete tasks and even think creatively.”
Here’s another famous example of how taking ‘time out’ in natural surroundings can support creative thinking. Alan Wiles, the British mathematician who provided the greatest solution in 100 years of mathematics, describes how he took ‘time out’ from his usual slavish routine. As he walked along a riverbank, his new state of relaxed concentration allowed his subconscious to work… and that’s when he had his most important breakthrough.
So it came to be that after 358 years, and after 7 years of one man’s undivided attention that Fermat’s last theorem was finally solved.
Read all about Wiles, the Genius here
Sometimes when I’m out riding my horse in the New Forest, I find myself deep in thought trying to work out a solution to a business problem. I can feel my heart rate rising and my breathing getting shallower as I sense a rising panic. I now recognise the signs and now stop my horse and just spend a few minutes gazing around in appreciation of what is right under my nose.
Even in the depths of winter there’s something to focus on, maybe a group of young Fallow stags hanging out, or a buzzard calling over the pines as it soars on the wind. And as the days lengthen when I’m out on Ché, I’ll soon be able to tune into the sound of the Skylark as it hangs high over its territory, fluttering and singing one the most evocative of birdsongs. As my mind clears of clutter, I know that I’m making space for my ‘soul’s intelligence’ to help find the right solution to what may be troubling me. It’s not forced, it’s just… well, why not try it for yourself?
A friend recently sent me some lines from Nancy Kline’s book ‘Time to Think’ and my eye spied this…
“Urgency keeps people from thinking clearly.”
So if you’re like me, full-on and hectic, or wondering how much more you have to fit into a busy schedule in order to put a tick across Job Done, then maybe now’s the time for some reflection and quiet and the answer is right under your nose… or in a nearby tree!