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12 ways to challenge ‘stressful’ thoughts and perform at your best all day

Stress is a very personal concept and closely linked to the mood of the moment and how capable we feel at any given time of the day. How ‘stressed’ or otherwise we feel is an ongoing assessment of how resourceful and how resilient we perceive ourselves to be given everything that’s going on around us.

Being resilient is connected to achieving your best performance state. When you feel focused and in control, you feel capable of rising to any challenge. Everyone has this feeling at various times with some experiencing it more than others.

The question is how can we all achieve this peak performance state more often? For most people the solution lies in experimenting with new ways of approaching, or reacting to, situations they regularly find themselves in, and challenging thought patterns that are familiar but don’t always lead to the most effective results. We’ve outlined a few examples of this below.

Change your attitude

Here are 5 common thoughts that can leave individuals feeling stressed but which, when challenged and reframed, can instantly boost mood, energy and effectiveness.

Stress: ‘I’ve got too much to do.’

In truth, many people do have too much to do and it’s usually because they keep packing their schedule until there’s barely enough time to think. There are only so many hours in the day so, instead of focusing on what you’re adding to your To‐Do list, think instead about what might drop off the list. Note down tasks and jobs that can be delegated, done differently or removed from your list altogether. Its one thing to be busy but an altogether different thing to be effective, so carve our short moments each day to establish what you can do to enhance your effectiveness in the future.

Resilience: ‘I take steps to ensure I am effective at all times.’

Stress: ‘I don't have time.’

Time is never a question of time but more a question of priorities and planning. But what if you don’t have time to plan? In actual fact, the vast majority of people we work with are able to cite evidence of examples – personal and professional – when taking time to plan their routine actually saved them hours a week - hours during which they can either work more efficiently or spend time on other areas of life beyond work. One thing is certainly true – planning brings with it a sense of control and focus rather than a sense of spending too much time being reactive and feeling overwhelmed.

Resilience: ‘I plan to make the best use of every hour of every day.’

Stress: ‘I just need a break.’

When you’re super-busy, it can feel as though things will never ease up. The key here is to do what feels counterintuitive and actually step away from everything. You might only need to pause for a few minutes or even less than this to take a breath, clear your head and gather your thoughts, but these few minutes, taken strategically through each day, can dramatically alter the path of your working week for the better.

Success: ‘Regular mini‐breaks help me manage my time and energy.’

Stress: ‘I wish "they" wouldn’t do that.’

It often feels that every day could be easier if it weren’t for other people, the things they say and the ways in which they organise themselves. In reality, most of us need to interact with others so it becomes imperative to take control of our relationships and be as clear as you can about how each one would work best for you. Be proactive by defining how you’d like your relationships to be, and communicate this clearly and appropriately to those involved. All interaction with others should have a clear purpose and a positive intention.

Resilience: ’I make the effort to ensure successful and mutually beneficial relationships.’

Stress: ’I can’t believe that happened again.’

One of the biggest stressors for many people is repeatedly finding themselves in situations where the outcome is not to their liking. A useful guideline to follow here is that you’re not allowed to complain about something, or someone, without coming up with a strategy to improve the situation should the same circumstances arise again in the future. Things happen every day that we can’t predict or control. What we can take charge of is how we react to these situations and what we learn from them that will help us grow day by day.

Resilience: ’No matter what happens, I take control for how I respond and learn lessons for the future.’

Change your behaviour

7 easy ways to build resilience and achieve peak performance

If you’re looking for quick ways to be your most resilient self, here are 7 things to consider. If you’re feeling less than 100% resourceful at any time, chances are that making a change with your attitude and actions in one or more of these areas will greatly improve your resilience every day.

1. Hydration: Dehydration can make you irritable. Avoid it at all costs

2. Caffeine: Can help you focus but too much may impair your performance

3. Alcohol: May help you relax but beware disrupted sleep

4. Sleep: Rest and recovery must remain a priority, not just a ‘nice to have’

5. Exercise: Channel excess energy, reduce stress hormones and aid creative thinking

6. Food: Will calm and energise or leave you feeling sluggish. Choose options carefully

7. ‘Me time’, balance & boundaries: Appropriate life balance requires planning



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