Almost everyone, everywhere feels stress. Strangely, ‘stress’ transcends culture, gender, and economic position. Neither the rich nor the poor are immune from it. The young and the old are susceptible. It is the singular theme that emerges from every meeting in the diverse countries where I lecture. Stress has become the number one obstacle to life satisfaction.
Here is the surprising thing: Stress itself is not the enemy! In reality, the positive stress we experience is what motivates us. It is the key to growth. For example, in order for a muscle to grow it must experience stress. So, too, stress stimulates and steers our personal mental performance.
The real enemy is the lack of recovery. Stress is simply the release of adrenaline in the body in response to a trigger. Intermittent spurts of adrenaline are good for us. Positive stress enables us to reach goals, achieve targets, and get ahead with life. Determination and ambition are just synonyms for good stress. Obviously major negative life stressors such as loss and trauma are always ‘bad stress’. But the daily grind of work and life commitments need not push us into overwhelming exhaustion.
Constant expectations, demands, and deadlines may lead us to depletion and burnout. This is because we continue relentlessly without taking breaks. We are not designed for continuous, sustained performance. We’re most productive when we move between expending energy and intermittently renewing our energy. Very short intervals of effective energy renewal are vital during the workday, followed by longer periods outside of work. Here are five ways to make stress work for you:
1. ENGAGE INTENSELY AND THEN TAKE A BREAK EVERY 90 MINUTES
Focus in the most absorbed way possible when you are working, and then take a break at least every 90 minutes. It’s not how long you take off that matters most, but rather how skillfully you use these very short periods of renewal. Get up from your desk and stretch your muscles. Take a short walk. The simplest way to recharge energy is by breathing. You can dramatically lower your heart rate, your blood pressure and your muscle tension in as little as thirty seconds.
2. TURBO CHARGE ADRENALINE. THEN SWITCH IT OFF
There is no better way to make stress work for you than by temporarily pumping up adrenaline levels. The work–out and then the post exercise switch-off will shift your body from a stressed-out state to a relaxation and recovery mode. In recent years, High-Intensity Interval Training (or HIIT) in particular, has been shown to significantly enhance work performance, energy sustainability and mental stamina.
3. MANAGE ENERGY RATHER THAN TIME
Time is finite. But energy – the capacity to do work – can be expanded and regularly renewed. Energy is the fundamental currency of high performance and yet we misuse it badly. We eat highly processed, refined foods and high sugar instead of nourishing ourselves with super-foods. We sit for long periods of time causing stasis of our blood flow and poor oxygenation of our body and brain. Not much positive comes from putting in extra time without devoting high quality focused energy.
4. RESPECT YOUR BIOLOGICAL CLOCK
Although managers expect their employees to be at their best at all hours of the workday, it is an unrealistic expectation. As humans, we have a well-defined internal clock that shapes our energy levels throughout the day, called the circadian rhythm. This precise and regular system facilitates the release of different hormones and enzymes at specific points through the day. A way to make stress work for you is to use the high-energy morning – when cortisol is at its lowest – for your most difficult, intense, and highly focused work.
5. BUILD RECOVERY INTO YOUR LIFE
There is an antidote to fatigue and its impact on performance and competence. Not surprisingly, the antidote is rest! Learning to practice mindfulness and meditation are very effective ways to defuse the overwhelming stress, strengthen neural connections, oxygenate the brain, and enhance powerful brain neurotransmitters
5. WAYAL FOR LIFE!
Your body and brain need a constant supply of high-quality nutrients to keep your energy levels and mental stamina going. There is no better way to recover your energy whilst literally feeding the neurons of your brain and the cells of all your body systems with your Andorra Life supplements. Check out all the amazing new benefits of the different products HERE
We may have resigned ourselves to the fact that stress, fatigue, and exhaustion are simply part of life in the 21st century fast lane. The good news is that we can enhance and sustain performance by a change in our mindset – “make stress work for you” – and implement some of these simple strategies.