Over the past 10 years there has been an increase in the speed and pace in which business has been conducted and at the same time stress has become the single biggest cause of sickness, totalling 140 million days lost in the UK alone and an estimated cost to business of £15 BILLION. It’s no wonder that organisations are now looking at this as a rick management issue and are looking for ways to support their most important assets to enable them to access their best when under pressure.
Interestingly, in the field of sport at the highest levels we’ve seen the person who wins the gold medal or the team that wins on the world stage all seem to have incredible reserves of resilience when faced with adversity. When the going gets tough they have learnt how to focus on the things that they can control.
The rest of us mere mortals get caught in a vicious cycle of responding to events that aren’t going our way during our normal day in a manner that doesn’t serve us well, we end up becoming so anxious due to the increased levels of cortisol from being over stimulated. In an attempt to keep up with the pace of the corporate treadmill we believe that it’s important to respond at the same pace, those days of responding by saying that “I’ll sleep on that and come back to you with a more considered answer”, is hardly heard in a team meeting nowadays.
Strategies to increase your Emotional Resilience
The first step before you start doing anything here, and is by far the biggest stress reliever, is to just take a breath and sit with yourself for a few moments without any distractions. Just remind yourself just how amazing you are as a human being and as you continue to sit there breathing in and out, make a mental note of all of the things you are grateful for in your life right now.
Because of the pace, we have slept walked into and have become an anxiety driven society, we get upset and stressed over tiny issues that crop up in our day, simple little things that shouldn’t even register or cause a spike end up getting blown out of all proportions. When that happens, we usually turn straight to something to comfort us whether its food or other addictions, we give ourselves a so called treat! Having the ability to SLOW DOWN is the key here, it’s a real game changer to allow yourself time to think and reflect.
Physical things to consider
Are you well hydrated?
Your performance can be dramatically hit by not drinking enough water throughout your day, so make sure you have the minimum of 2 litres per day.
What toxins are you introducing to your system?
Coffee, sugar, alcohol, smoking and various other chemicals all play a role in eroding your energy levels during a normal day, if you have a big day ahead of you, you’ll want to ensure you keep an eye overloading your system.
Being aware is the first step towards operating on a cleaner diet, a modern diet contains so much hidden sugar and what we think is a healthy option could in fact be laced with an imbalance of fats or more importantly, the wrong types of fats! Make sure you start reading the food labels, you might need glasses to read the fine print but it’s a good habit to start knowing exactly what your are introducing to your body.
Taking this approach will help you maintain a balanced energy level throughout your day, instead of the sugar high’s and lows created by a poor food choice.
What thoughts are you allowing to run?
We’ve all heard the saying:-
Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.
Start paying attention to how you are interacting with yourself, each thought creates a chemical cascade, if it’s a negative thought, you are bombarding your body with chemicals that aren’t healthy for you in the long run, even the short term consequences of frustration, stress, anger and guilt will have an impact that is going going to serve you well.
Where your attention goes, energy flows, so being aware of your patterns of thinking is the first step, the next step is catching those thoughts before you allow them to land, you are the air traffic controller of your thoughts and you can choose to allow them to land or you can choose to divert them and think of other more empowering thoughts to support you moving forwards and onwards.
How much exercise are you getting?
Most of us have experienced a long day at work where things just haven’t gone our way for one reason or another, you know the feeling of almost being on your knees and wondering why you just did’t stay under the duvet! On your journey home you’re considering the idea of the gym but your body is attempting to convince you that the sofa and a glass of wine just sounds better!
Oddly enough, you did end up going to the gym for 45 mins, even though you felt shattered before getting changed, you completed your aerobic workout and left the gym feeling completely energised! We all know that it’s important to exercise at least 3-4 times per week for a minimum of 45 mins but it’s one of the first things to go when we are under pressure at work. The very thing that you need to do to feel energised and to reboot, is to exercise, but your mind plays a trick on you to fool you into thinking that you’re shattered!
Start committing to yourself that you are going to schedule into your day an opportunity to exercise, even getting out at lunch time for a 20 minute walk is better than no movement at all.
A great way to ensure you create a good habit around exercise, is to commit to a class with a friend. Setting yourself some small stepping stones as goals is also another great way to staying on track to achieving a bigger goal of losing weight and running a marathon, there are loads of 5km running events within a short distance to most of us nowadays, once you’ve done a 5km fun run, notch it up and enter a 10km fun run and then a 1/2 marathon!
All you need to look for is one really powerful reason why you are going to commit to the new habit, once you’ve made the decision, work backwards from your goal and plan the stepping stones to help you get there. This is no different to how world class athletes and leaders operate to help them achieve their goals.