Excessive anxiety makes us age faster, ruins our health and our willpower to do the things we really love. It is the most problematic side-effect of our fast-paced age and so one of the easiest ways to improve our overall well-being is to reduce stress in our everyday lives. It’s time to enjoy every moment and to show your positive side to the people around you!
Playing vs. working
People often divide their life into boxes and separate the time of enjoyment from the time of working. Yet, why couldn’t the two exist at the same time?
„I don’t think of work as work and play as play. It’s all living.” –Richard Branson
Work takes up a significant amount of time of our days and the key to living a fulfilled life is not to wait until the weekend, the holiday, or our retirement but to make our time spent working as enjoyable as we can. Surround yourself with people who make working fun and get creative: no matter what you do for a living you can always find a way to make a game out of it. Make office hours the highlight of your day and you will never hate Monday mornings anymore!
Meditating during the day?
The list of benefits that daily meditation has on our health and self-awareness is endless. No wonder it has become one of the top tools for boosting happiness and productivity among successful people today. Meditation draws the attention to the rhythmic flow of breathing and thus calms the body and the mind at the same time.
This element of meditation, however, can be practiced throughout the day as well. Most of the time when we get confronted by somebody or we hear some stressful news we are not aware of the fact that we get nervous and we rather try to hide even the slightest sign of it in order not to seem weak. Yet, if you get into the habit of self-awareness and we pay attention to your rising heart-rate and the speed of our breath, you can also turn your body back to normal which will calm down your mind as well. It is as simple as taking a few deep breaths and observing your body for a minute. Integrating these micro-meditation practices in your day will significantly decrease your stress level.
Transform your energy
In one of the most popular TED talks given, Kelly McGonigal talks about the fact that stress is only harmful to us if we believe it so. It means that our body reacts almost exactly the same way when we get anxious about something we fear like when we feel excited about something we are looking forward to. There are situations when we need a high level of energy to perform better, like when we give a talk on stage.
If we change our internal chatter to „I am so scared of speaking in front of all these people” to „I am so excited to share my ideas with so many people who came here to listen to me” then our energy will not just be beneficial for our performance but our health as well. It is just a matter of perspective to turn our worries into excitement but it makes a huge difference in managing our stress levels.
Although there are a few situations that make most people stressed, we all react to different situations in our own ways. What makes you irritated may not even get noticed by other people around you, yet in other situations, you get surprised that somebody got so frustrated over an event that would not affect you at all. One of the key reasons for this is that we learn how to react to distinct situations from our parents, relatives, and other people in our immediate environment from an early age.
For example, if your parents used to always get annoyed while driving you might also pick up the habit and get angry at other drivers on the road. It is often our own mental constructs that make us feel uneasy and so the most important thing to remember is not to react immediately. This way you can take a moment to reflect on your own behavior. Many of our emotional reactions are learnt and so we can also unlearn them in order not to waste our energy on things that are not meant to create turmoil in our minds.
If you master these techniques, you will be able to stay calm in even the most disturbing situations and your happiness will be unaffected by the minuscule troubles of the world around you.
As modern diets catch up with executive lifestyle and the best-performing people of the world, they tend to focus more on brain performance while providing enough fuel for a few hours in the gym every week. High-fat and low-carb diets like the ketogenic diet have become extremely popular and made it to the new year’s resolution list of many but most people find it hard to be consistent with it. Here are a few tips to help you adapt your eating habits to a performance diet.
Plan a warm-up period
If you make radical changes in your diet, it is not just a small habit you have to get accustomed to. Your body takes time to get used to turning fat into muscle and brain power as opposed to considering carbs as its primary energy source. It might take a few weeks until you completely get used to it and during this time you will probably experience fatigue and feeling sluggish during the day. Allow yourself to adjust to your new lifestyle without giving up half-way and don’t start during the most demanding period of the year.
Adjust it to your gym schedule
Don’t just follow someone else’s diet word by word and expect the same results. It’s better to understand the main principles of it and then customize it here and there to your own lifestyle. Depending on how many times a week you workout and the intensity of your exercises you need to take a different amount of calories each day.
Your focus might also vary based on your primary goal, for example, to lose weight, to build stamina, or just to make your brain function at its best. These benefits are mostly interrelated but the details might differ to a certain extent. Do some research and pay more attention to the ratio of components on your plate than the actual quantity. The golden rule is to take everything in moderation without starving yourself.
A little cheat is better than giving up
If the new diet is fundamentally different from your current eating habits, it might seem overwhelming in the beginning and it can really challenge your willpower. You can define a cheat day during the week when you can eat anything you want so you don’t feel like to give up your favorite snacks forever. After a few weeks you might notice that you don’t even crave for them anymore, so you can eliminate the cheat day and keep up the good work!
You can also modify diets according to what feels right for you, after all, you don’t need to eat like an athlete to look fitter and do well at work. Just make sure you set your rules at the beginning and don’t give up on them later even if you’re tempted to.
No need to say goodbye to everything
Sometimes, our eating and drinking habits are also rituals in our lives which give us joy and the opportunity to share it with others. Instead of giving up drinking all together you can drink red wine or tequila with soda, which are probably the most low-carb drinks you find in bars. You might alter your morning caramel-cream frappuccino to a Bulletproof coffee which practically substitutes breakfast as well and gives you enough energy to do your maximum until lunch time. Change snacks for healthy ones like almond or cashew: They contain some carbs, but still give you a better option than sugary quick-fixes for hunger.
Be wise on-the-go
The most difficult part of eating healthy is probably when you have to spend time at airports or grab something quick during a cab drive. It’s better to plan your meals ahead so that when you have 2 seconds to decide between meal options you won’t fall for your instinct. Keep healthy snacks with you for instances when your choices are limited (like when you’re on a flight) and don’t try to save time on your lunch-break! Keeping your nutrition as a priority will allow you to be the best version of yourself and to have energy left even after a tough week.