How to think under pressure – Hakalau or Expanded Awareness
Have you ever had moments in high stress, pressure cooker moments when you just could not think?
Have you ever hoped or wished you could stop feeling stressed or manage your state in any given moment?
Being able to effectively do this is being able to step into your ultimate power.
I want to share a technique I learned that changed my life – It gave me the key to managing how I feel and what I want to take in.
The technique comes from the ancient Hawaiians. The leaders of the tribe would sit in this state and ask for answers to the philosophical questions.
It is a shortcut to a meditative state.
But the real beauty of this exercise is that it lowers your stress levels.
So, a little physiology refresh…
We have 2 parts to our Central Nervous System.
The sympathetic and the parasympathetic. To put this simply the sympathetic nervous system controls your body’s stress response and the parasympathetic is your bodies relax response. Most of us are sympathetic dominant. We are on the go constantly and we never stop. We have high stress level which results in high cortisol and adrenaline levels and we never really come down.
Have you ever noticed, when you are stressed you become tunnel visioned?
When we are stressed we cannot think of anything else or notice anything else around us except the ‘thing’ that we are stressed about. We lose all perspective and the one thing that has captured our attention feels like the most important thing to the exclusion of all other, important things. This is probably why, at the end of a stressful day, you hear yourself saying – “I didn’t get anything done – what a wasted day!” We lose sight of the bigger picture. It is why we lay awake at night ruminating over something that happened during the day – that ‘thing’ will be completely forgotten next week (or even tomorrow night!).
How do you stop this stress-triggered “tunnel vision” I hear you ask?
The best way to take control of this stress response, retain your ability to think under pressure and maintain perspective, is deliberately activate your peripheral vision using a technical called “Expanded Awareness” or in Hawaiian “Hakalau”.
When we go into expanded awareness we utilise the opposite of our stress response.
When we go into expanded awareness our parasympathetic nervous system fires off and turns off your sympathetic response. In effect it turns off stress and turns on relaxation. Your body can release and get rid of the excess cortisol and adrenalin and allow you to come back into balance and …. Think.