How to Perform in the Clutch

I wanted to share the benefits of training your brain (i.e. meditation) to slow down during high-stress situations.

"When we are under stress, that frontal cortex goes awry," said cognitive scientist Sian Beilock. She is known for her research on the way people perform under high stress — the science of choking under pressure. "We actually pay too much attention to what we're doing. … We start questioning what should just be on autopilot. And we mess up."

"We actually put blinders on. We can't think outside the box," she said. "Our tendency is to sit there and bang our head against the wall and push through. That's the wrong tendency." Among solutions, Beilock said, is taking a break from the problem or task. If you walk away, even for a couple of minutes, your mind may clear. "This is the reason why we always come up with the resolution to an issue at work when we're walking home."

Beilocks’ perspective was featured in this Tribune's BlueSky article: Overthinking it? Your brain makes better decisions when it's on autopilot by Cheryl Jackson.

pc: Annie Spratt

pc: Annie Spratt