Here are five key lifestyle modifications and techniques that you can use to manage factors that contribute to anxiety and your productivity.
ONE: One of the most important factors is getting enough sleep. There is plenty of research out there that exemplifies how top performers get the most sleep. This may sound counter-intuitive, you would think that those top performers were busy being fully engaged as long as they can possibly handle however, what researchers found was that the top performers pay close attention to their energy levels so that they can engage more strongly and fully. Top performers understand this and work to get on average 8 hours and 22 minutes of sleep per day. On top of this, they also indicated that they often took a 20 to 30 minute power nap, 5 days a week. Following this simple approach ensures that they start off fully charged, recharge and can be fully engaged longer. You can do this to.
TWO: Sticking to the maintaining our energy levels theme, we need to consider how, when and with what we are fueling ourselves throughout the day. What are we eating? Are we having a well-rounded breakfast? Are we having some kind of small snack to hold us over in between? Did we workout the day before and if so, are we replacing the protein needed? To much processed food? Coffee? Soft-drinks? Again, it boils down to how we are managing our energy, because if our energy levels are low, our vulnerabilities are high, we make poor decisions, we become irritated and more irrational which then affects our performance and our management of stress and anxiety.
THREE: Find time to get away from the situation. Let’s face it, not everyone can get away from their work and take a 30-minute nap. So what else can you do to come close to this and regain some energy? For starters, be sure to take your lunch break away from your desk. (if you at your desk eating, your still engaged and using energy!) Get outside for 10 minutes and walk or practice a mindfulness technique while simply standing or sitting somewhere. Watch what’s going on around you out there in the world and simply see if it’s possible to bring your attention fully to the edges of your peripheral vision all at once (grounding exercise).
FOUR: Identify your “downer” story or complaints. Simply see if you can notice them. These are the thoughts which are showing up in your mind (often without your true awareness of them) that typically centers around a theme such as your confidence, level of difficulty with a task, or a victim or failure phrase. Just simply notice the thoughts, then let them go. This is a simple mindfulness practice which, over time, opens a way to begin to “see” your automatic behaviors. Do this often enough and you will catch it right as it happens, then you can choose to stick with the story if it is useful or let it go if it is not.
FIVE: Know what your values are. They are your guides. They trigger your emotional responses when your not moving towards them which can make your life more cloudy, more painful, but if you pay attention to these emotions instead of ignoring or fighting them, you will be free to take committed action which in the end makes your actions meaningful. If you know what you value, you will be able to foster your motivation to be able to move towards them, even if it is just a small step at a time. Doing so prevents you from becoming stuck and re-energizes you when you can look back and see what you overcame. If you know who you are and where you want to go, it makes moving so much easier so take some time and do the work to determine you five prime value sets. The return on investment is well worth it.