How To Overcome Stress And Overwhelm Using A Mathematical Thinking Model. Hello everyone, I hope you are well. In today’s post, I will be sharing a guest post from mathematician Francis Keith Robins, author of ‘Power of Objective Thinking’. Francis will share how to use a mathematical thinking model to overcome feelings of stress and overwhelm. Let’s think of everyday tasks as mathematical sets. We can train our brains to operate objectively and create a more efficient way of understanding and accepting what is happening around us.
How To Overcome Stress And Overwhelm Using A Mathematical Thinking Model
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is looking at plans to ensure all school pupils in England study maths in some form until the age of 18. It’s a move that will delight cosmologists who believe the universe is one mathematical object and holds the key to order and peacefulness in our lives. As a mathematician, I believe everything is connected and that by adopting a mathematical way of thinking, we can all take a step closer to achieving personal happiness and fulfilment.
Let’s think of everyday tasks as mathematical sets. We can train our brains to operate objectively and create a more efficient way of understanding and accepting what is happening around us. We can treat what is around us as simply a set of knowledge: computer, table, carpet.
However, we must also be aware that the information we receive through our senses is not always accurate. It is not necessarily a factual representation of the outside world. We add our interpretation and emotion when we receive information through our senses. This can create false characteristics. Therefore, we should put this ‘knowledge’ into a separate set, so we are not tempted to create a picture of the world based on this erroneous information.
Sets are groups or lists of objects with specific characteristics – connected. For example, if we want to travel from A to B, we create a set that contains all the transport options. This helps us to think objectively without pre-sorting options based on subjective feelings or perceptions.
But the modern world, in which we are bombarded with information, including a heavy reliance on social media, has deteriorated our quality of thinking and personal happiness. We are now heavily influenced by external snapshots of other people’s lives, leading to shaped and often false perceptions. Learning to think objectively can be hugely beneficial in overcoming stress, especially for teenagers suffering from mental health problems, as the perceptions often create stress.
By moving away from creating a subjective picture of the world and instead focusing on objective mathematical thinking models, you can concentrate on making the most of your life. You can seek members of sets that you wish to try. For example, a set of TV channels with subsets of programmes to watch. Or a set of elements in your neighbourhood to visit with subsets like museums, shops, cafes, etc.
Adopting a mathematical thinking model to reduce stress and anxiety doesn’t involve ‘doing’ any maths. It is about thinking differently so you can stop feeling overwhelmed by classifying the information and putting it into what is known as mathematical sets. In particular, we can classify the information we receive and ensure we focus on what is essential, like kindness, helpfulness, loyalty, honesty, etc.
Here are a few tips, based on a mathematical way of thinking, that will help reduce stress and overwhelm. Although these ways of thinking may not immediately appear mathematical, each suggestion comes from mathematical thinking, where the facts are what matters, not the assumptions, external influences or the things we cannot control – just ourselves, what we can control, and the facts we can be sure of.
Stop Making Generalisations About People Or Stereotyping Them
This is the source of many conflicts. Everyone is unique, representing a unique set of knowledge (although everyone is based on the same template). Allow them the courtesy and opportunity to show you their uniqueness, rather than pigeon-holing them before you know anything about them. This applies to individuals and groups of people. By thinking of them as mathematical sets, the emotion can be removed, and only the objective fact of the set remains.
Ignore What You Can’t Control
In general terms, you can do little to change the outside world. You can’t stop the war in Ukraine or the rising fuel price. So stop focusing on what you can’t control and instead focus on what you can. Worrying about the outside world doesn’t help you and won’t change it. Don’t try to control things you can’t control. Focus on what you can do. This frees up the mind and ensures it is not cluttered with perceptions and generalisations, which is far better for our mental health.
Adopt A Childlike Quality That Allows Things To Go Over Your Head
When we are very young, we don’t think beyond what makes us happy. We don’t worry about what other people think of us; we are much more in tune with our sensory pleasures, such as touch, smell and sound. A child’s faith is unshakable; they don’t question, doubt or seek explanations when doing something pleases them. As long as what you are doing is not dangerous or life-threatening, enjoy it for what it is.
Remember, Every Decision Has A Consequence
This can be mathematically represented by an equation: decision = consequences. Both sides form a set, which can be used for teaching/learning purposes, whether talking to children or adults about the consequences of their actions.
Reference The Past Only To Find Learnings Or Things You’d Like To Enjoy Again
Don’t refer back to bad experiences, whether yours personally or someone else’s, or even those of humanity. Refer back only to learn. You can put the event in a ‘mistakes’ set and the learnings in a ‘new approaches’ set. You can also have a refer-back set called ‘experiences I loved’ to look to this set for things you’d like to do again.
Create A Routine
Everyone should create a routine and structure to ensure the critical parts of life are dealt with and included. These need to be in the ‘priority setting’. Focus on things that matter to you. Someone else will have different priorities.
Learn Philosophical Phrases Such As ‘Worse Things Could Happen’
It reminds us that perhaps things are not as bad as we think. These phrases will help lessen your stress over a particular issue/incident. This is not a panacea, but it can help.
Remove All Objects From Your Environment That You Know Will Cause Weakness
These can be in mathematical sets of mistakes, precautions, etc. For example, eating crisps is a mistake if you want to lose weight. So, add ‘remove crisps from the house’ to the precaution set. Having constantly battled temptation is enough to make anyone feel overwhelmed.
Everyone Makes Mistakes, Don’t Beat Yourself Up About Them
If they are serious mistakes, break them into sets – the mistake and the learning. And then share these sets with colleagues and other connected individuals. Remember, the mistake is in the past, make corrections if you can and learn for the future. I believe it should be the role of the parent, with a backup of education, to teach children possible common mistakes and their relevant precautions. This means making mistakes is not the only way youngsters learn.
Add Non-Academic Skills To Your Routine
Consider adding non-academic skills to your routine, such as sports or art and join groups where you will find people with similar interests. As a parent or teacher, look for the child’s non-academic skills too. Learning new social skills can help you make friends if you find this challenging. Being among like-minded people can be a natural tonic. We are not alone, our problems can be shared, and we can see that other people are also struggling with their own overwhelm.
Don’t Automatically Assume That Everything You Hear Is True
Treat the information as words/language that could be true or false. It’s easy to focus on appearances or the tangible thing in front of you, but what matters most is the things you don’t discern directly through your senses, such as kindness, honesty and loyalty. As the saying goes, ‘you cannot always judge a book by its cover’.
Challenge Celebrity Culture, Bullying, Crime And Racism
Concentrate on living your life and focus on the qualities we can’t discern from our senses, like kindness, helpfulness and empathy, as these are far more rewarding for the body and mind.
Everything that exists in the universe is in a relationship with something else. Nothing exists in isolation. The mathematical element of life is not about number crunching. It’s simply about creating sets.
The important thing is to try not to get set in your ways. Humans are creatures of habit, but the more flexible we can be in everyday life, the more we engage our minds and connect with what is around us.
We are already unconsciously adopting math sets in our daily lives. Still, by changing or tweaking the combinations or items in the set, we can achieve some of the contentment we remember feeling as a child.
I hope you enjoyed that.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Francis Keith Robins is the author of ‘Power of Objective Thinking’, which shows us how to use tried and tested objective thinking patterns to reduce stress and a sense of overwhelm or helpless. Francis has a hypersensitive mind and thinks objectively by default. He has developed a template to create an objective model for any experience or system. See: