Fill up your own cup before you can fill up the cup of others. As cliché as this sounds, so many of us miss this. Why is that?
Like a game of whack-a-mole we are outputting all day long in our personal and professional lives. There are always more moles and we fail to realize it’s up to us and us only to regulate our levels of outputting. Many of us are out to prove something, so aspects of our personality and workplace profiles get the best of us.
So, in a time where there are increasing expectations on leaders to deliver results in a rapidly changing work environment, how do we put in place an umbrella insurance policy on our performance and leadership style?
Mindfulness is THE peak performance and stress response answer.
It slows down time, raises contentiousness, and offers compounded perceptions of greater autonomy and having more choices in a moment. A recent article ,published in the journal, Stress and Health writes that, “mindfulness relates directly and negatively to work stress and perceptions of emotional demands as well as buffering the relation of emotional demands on psychological stress.”
Imagine being able to sleep at night knowing you have the skills in place to manage any level of tension and adversity going on in your life. Imagine being unshakeable in self-agency, decision making, and positivity.
It’s with this, I’d like to share these practical ways to boost your stress management skills as a legendary leader in this world.
1 | Meditate. Even 5 minutes in the morning goes a long way. Just practicing being with your thought loops without getting emotionally dragged into them is like cross training for increasing the response time between a stressful stimulus in life and when you actually respond to that event. Creating space is all you’re doing with this practice.
2 | Take a 30 second cold shower in the morning. I’m a certified Wim Hof Method instructor, so I’ve had the privilege of learning the vast benefits of training with cold exposure. This is another way to practice in a controlled environment your response to stress. You get into a fight or flight state and you’re able to gain control of this response with practice. Simply breathe in through the nose, and calmly out the mouth until your breathing slows and you’re just being with the cold water running over your body.
When you experience a stress response in daily life you have a muscle that you’ve been training (your response).
3 | Bring awareness to breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth throughout your day. Breathing this way stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system response, which is a subtle way of putting our foot on the brake to support our responses to the world.
A study has been conducted showing the connection between nasal breathing and cognitive function. These findings show a system where our in-breath is like a remote control for our brains: by breathing in through our nose we are directly affecting the electrical signals in the “smell” regions, which indirectly controls the electrical signals of our memory and emotional brain centers. In this way, we can control and optimize brain function using our in-breath, to have faster, more accurate emotional discrimination and recognition, as well as gain better memory.
When others rely on your to be at your best, they must be able to feel your stability, especially in times of adversity. Stressors happen around the clock and they will eat away at your energy if you’re not proactive in managing them.
Get started with these three practical tools of meditation, a daily cold shower, and daily nose breathing to defy the odds of burnout and pave the way for your story of legendary leadership.