In my last post, we talked about something very important.
Possessing the trait of having the ability to control your emotions, be non-reactive and ultimately refrain from blowing up on anyone has a direct link to your performance. There was a highly-valued study done recently, conducted over several years which included over one million people. The conclusion was that over 90% of the top performers are extremely, extremely skilled in managing their emotions. The big factor? They manage them appropriately in times of stress. This is absolutely key to do not only in the workplace, but family life as well.
This is extremely important to know because stress does have prolonged, negative effects. There was a study at Yale done, which found that prolonged stresses cause degeneration in the area of the brain that handles self-control. The thing about stress though, is that in terms of evolution, it’s actually needed. The reason stress is there is that it lays importance on a situation. Imagine way back when in the caveman days, if there were a lion nearby. Imagine if we didn’t feel stress? We would be eaten. We wouldn’t care. Stress has actually allowed us to evolve as a species, in terms of technology and advancing in this life.
Infact, performance actually peaks when we’re under moderate levels of stress. Too much of it? You simply lose focus. I’ve been there, and it’s sucks. As long as the stress comes in moderation, it’s generally harmless.
Here are ten of the best, effective strategies when it comes to staying calm in an insane working world.
Appreciating What You Have
In our lives, we’re so busy all the time. You have to do this, gotta drop the kids off, got to go to work – work, come home, pick kids up, make dinner, pack their lunches, etc. This happens day in and day out for most people. We’re on a clock that’s constantly going, and we barely take the time to actually sit down and be grateful for what we have. Studies have shown (coming from the University of California) that sitting down and reflecting for how you’re grateful, actually reduces the stress hormone called cortisol by a whopping 23%. Isn’t that insane!? People who also worked daily to pertain a very gracious attitude experienced improved energy, improved mood, improved physical well-being among other positive effects. It’s extremely likely that lower levels of cortisol played an absolutely paramount role in this.
They Avoid Asking The Question, “What If?”
With a lot of people, fear can be a difficult thing to overcome. A lot of people ask the question, “What If?”. I know I have! Even with something simple like, “I wonder what would’ve happened if I stayed with that girl” or, “I wont what would have happened if I took that job”. The biggest thing that’s wrong with this type of thinking, is that you’re stuck in the past. Nobody wants that, because it holds you back from something very important – moving forward! Things can go in a million different directions. And the more time you spend on worrying about “what if?!”, the less time you’ll spend focus and calm and actually taking action.
This is a big one. Not only that, this is admittedly difficult to do for a lot of people. I’ve met people in my life who are naturally negative, and naturally positive. The negative people, in my own personal experience, have simply had a really rough life and had been dealt a shitty hand. However, that’s generally not an excuse. I’ve been dealt a shitty hand in life, but you have to do your best to move on from it. Take the lessons, there is always a silver lining. Positive thoughts literally and physically lower stress levels. When your mood is generally good, work doesn’t feel like work anymore. Your relationship goes swimmingly. When things are not going as great, your mind is flooded with negative thoughts. This can be a definite challenge. The best way to become instantly positive? Think about something that happened in the past week that you’re grateful for. For me, I played volleyball with some friends yesterday in the hot sun. It was awesome! A ton of fun. That just put a smile on my face right there.
People That Disconnect
When you make yourself available for work 24/7, this takes a massive toll on your life. Personally? I would never, ever do this. I’ve worked at far too many places where working late (and on weekends) for zero overtime is actually expected, and not rewarded. I still work with people like this and to be honest, it’s just batshit insane. Forcing yourself to turn off your phone and get away from the screen has proven, through studies, to lower stress levels. Although, I’m sure you didn’t need a study to prove that for you.
Technology enables us to be constantly connected to eachother. On one hand, that’s a good thing. With work, however, that’s terrible. I don’t want my boss to be connected with me all day, every day. That’s awful (even if I like my boss, which I do!). We all need our break time – things are more important. Family and friends will always be more important than your job / career, always remember that.
They Limit Their Caffeine
Oh, how ironic. I’m at a coffeshop right now, sipping on some coffee. I didn’t know this until now, but caffeine triggers the release of adrenaline. What this does is this enables the fight or flight response, which is a survival mechanism that forces you to either stand up and fight, or run to the hills when faced with a threat. Flight or fight actually overrides rational thinking in favour of a rational response. This is amazing when a bear is after you, but really not that great when responding to a blunt e-mail from a client (we’ve all been there!). When caffeine puts your brain and body into a hyperstate, your emotions overrun your behaviour.
Well that’s it! Check out my next post.