“Say ‘no’ to distraction to say ‘yes’ to your destiny.”

                                                                        -Thema Davis.

Contemporarily all of us go through various crises due to many unavoidable reasons. The worsening of the problem we face tends to get us distracted. And it ultimately takes a long time to solve and come out of the crisis. 

In case of a crisis, it is essential to stay calm and optimistic. And we should practice integrative awareness: being aware of the changing reality in the outside world and how they respond emotionally and physically. This intentional practise tends to shift from viewing challenges as roadblocks to seeing them as problems to be solved and even learn from defeating distractions from the crisis. (Brassey, Brassey, & Kruyt, How to demonstrate calm and optimism in a situation, 2020)

How to defeat distractions in times of crisis?

 Deliberate calm

This means practising a calm state of mind in case of crisis. Compassion and acceptance for ourselves and others are essential ingredients for being deliberately calm. It is all about letting up on self-criticism or perfectionism. And to be able to connect with core intentions and purpose.

Bounded optimism

Optimism that comes from authentic values and trust in people’s capabilities is the source of energy for everyone to move forward. By contrast, optimism without meaning or grounding may cause disappointment and defeat.

Optimistic person

Optimistic person

Putting integrative awareness into practice

Captain Chesley Sullenberger introduced the process of integrative awareness when he landed his commercial plane on the Hudson River in 2009. Accordingly, practising internal awareness helps catch early distress, doubt, or fear signals without acting out a stress response. This is especially critical in times of crisis. While we can never be purely objective, we can try to reach that state as much as possible. In the absence of objective awareness, signals of distress can trigger “survival” behaviour. Also, we lose the tendency to pause, reflect, and decide. 

According to Jacqueline Brassey and Michiel Kruyt, there are six main steps to developing integrative awareness.

Adapt your personal operating model

We can prepare operating models focusing on the areas of our priorities, roles, time, and energy that are elements of how you operate daily. This operating model can act as your compass, especially in a crisis expected to last for some time. Moreover, this helps to identify whether our personal operating model aligns with the changes in our work life right now and our “non-negotiable” in this model. For example, sufficient sleep, regular exercise, meditation practice, and healthy food.

A man with intentions

A man with intentions

Set your intention

Further, we can spend a few minutes at the start of the day to go through our plan, identify high-stakes topics, and intend what we want to accomplish and how we want the experience to unfold. This enables us to predict “emotional hot spots” and provides a bulwark against reactive thinking.


Regulate your actions

While in a stressful situation during the day, we must observe our emotions to recognise the stress response, taking a pause to assess the problem, and engage our “rational mind” before choosing how to respond.

Practice reflection

Reflection is a way to process what happened during the day and create a space to listen to our inner mind and body. Reflection helps us with the big picture and our reactive behaviour and its drivers. People have many ways to reflect. Some use meditation, and some reflect while running or walking the dog. The significance is that we make it a regular planned practice.

Practicing self reflection

Practising self-reflection

Reframe your perspective

When detailed scenario planning is not an option, we should choose to take a flexible perspective: which also can be known as integrative awareness in action. We should make time to revisit decisions regularly, with an open, curious, and learning mindset, building on fresh information coming in and at different stages in the crisis.

Manage your energy

One of the most challenging things to do in times of crisis is to balance work needs with our physical well-being. In a crisis atmosphere, we need recovery time. It is necessary to engage in micro-practices that support healthy recoveries. Examples are meditation, breathing exercises, cardio sports activities, and power naps.

Let’s defeat the distraction in times of crisis by correctly practising the steps mentioned above.

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