Friday, March 10, 2023

Learning to zoom in and out for better emotional regulation and problem solving

Knowing how to “zoom in and out” from thoughts, data, and feelings is super important for emotional regulation and problem solving. 

But like changing gears, we need to know what those gears are, what they are there for, and what it feels like. 

So let’s start with “zooming in”...

“Zooming into” a thought, a piece of data, or feeling is great for judging something as good or bad. We see it in detail. We get super focused on it. Of course in this state, we can lose openness and curiosity. We are more prone to stress in this state with more fight, flight, and OCD features if overly excessive. The main purpose of “zooming in” is judge and take action. 

“Zooming out” on the other hand is full of curiosity and openness. We see everything as “bigger picture”, and can see things that we were not able to see before when we were too “zoomed in”. We can see many possibilities. It’s great for brainstorming. It may be harder to take decisive action in this state. We are happy to observe the world and “go with the flow”. There may be less stress for us, but our inaction and lack of focus may stress out others around us! The main purpose of “zooming out” is to perceive and gather relevant information without judgement. 

So which one do you tend to overdo or underdo? Which one do you struggle with the most?

Better “zooming” skills=better problem solving=better mood regulation=better biopsychosocial health

Difficult confusing problems may need “zooming out” first before “zooming in” in order to seek more clarity, and avoid falling into the trap of “zooming in” too quickly unless it’s an emergency.

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