When struggling with a problem or difficult decision, a way that I have found works for me is to write it down. Fully describe the problem, think intensely about it, and come up with as many solutions as you can. Writing something down removes emotions from the equation and allows your logic brain to operate.
Once you have written the problem and possible solutions down, examine what you have written. If the right solution isn’t apparent or you haven’t identified a solution that you like, then forget about it. Go and do something else, something that involves exercise is best. When you least expect it the solution will come to you.
How many times have you been doing something else and a solution or idea pops into your head? Often I bet. Solutions and ideas come to us when we aren’t thinking about them because our subconscious keeps working on the problem once we have written them down.
Additionally, our brain 'strains' itself when we are concentrating hard on something and when it relaxes the brain reaches deeper into our creative side where the ideas are stored.
Ideas also flow when we are asleep or in the shower. Why is that, it’s because our brain is the most relaxed during these situations plus it is also distracted by other things. Distracting the brain when we worry stops it going into the 'spin cycle'. Relaxation also causes dopamine to be released into the brain and assists with creativity.
When we are asleep our brain defrags like a computer during REM sleep. As it defrags it is putting the pieces of our day into an ordered fashion, placing files in the correct pockets of our file cabinet (our brain). If the file doesn’t quite fit somewhere comfortably our brain will want to know why and will work to find the correct folder, the solution.
We are at our most relaxed in the shower and water is also a cleanser. Again our creative chemical dopamine is released into the brain during a shower.
So why does writing something down help? Science tells us that when we write something down our reticular activating system (RAS) is triggered. The RAS is a filter for our brain that prioritises what we need to focus on.
Ever wondered why successful people achieve their goals, it’s because they write them down. Not electronically, but with pen and paper. Our subconscious mind doesn’t recognise electronic devices because they haven’t been around long enough whereas we have been using sticks and ink for millions of years.
Goals must be hand-written, not typed. Our sub-conscious shrugs its shoulders at modern devices. In fact most of our hard-wired brain programming comes from these early times.
Once you have written out your goals, forget about them. If you continue to focus on your goals they remain in the forefront of your mind and your subconscious won't have the opportunity to help you to achieve them.
The next time you are struggling with something or want to achieve a goal, write it down.