The best of the best athletes, scientists, soloist musicians, and executives alike can find themselves dwelling on a snag or difficult situation, as if getting taken hostage by it. If left unchecked, it can get in the way of what could be a good day.
Whether you've had something (or someone) turn your day upside down, are stymied by a problem, or feeling overwhelmed, noticing it in real time is key. Once you see you're stuck in an unwanted "loop," you'll need to step away from it to solve it rapidly.
As soon as possible, get up and walk out on whatever you're doing for a ten-minute break (and leave your smart phone behind): take a walk outside the office, don’t eat lunch at your desk—whatever it may be that will help you NOT to think about the issue, at least for a short time. While this may sound stupidly simple, it's amazing a) how people DON'T do this in the middle of the storm, and b) how effective it is.
Aside from interfering with your stuck pattern of thinking, this practice gives your more powerful non-conscious brain time to work out what, if anything, you need to do to resolve the issue just for today. If you keep trying to power through it with your more limited conscious attention, you’ll continue to hit a wall, and it will take longer to resolve.
Instead, when something is renting too much mental or emotional space, hit the reset button on your day, STEP AWAY by walking out on your own thinking for a quick break.