The ability to stay calm and poised under pressure and managing your emotions effectively has a direct impact on your performance. Multiple types of research have been conducted on this topic and it has been concluded that 90% of top performers are skilled at managing their emotions in times of stress. And, that quality by itself, makes them top performers.
The wreckage stress can do to a person is common knowledge. However, it is important to understand that stress is also a necessary emotion. The natural structure of our brain is such that we find it difficult to take any action until we feel stress at some level. In fact, moderate levels of stress lead to a peak performance. Therefore, moderate levels of stress in short durations are absolutely necessary and healthy. The problem arises when stress is prolonged.
A scientific study conducted at the University of California disclosed that the sunset of stress leads to the growth of new brain cells. These are the same cells that are responsible for improved memory. However, this effect was only observed when stress was limited to a short duration. When the stress continued beyond a few moments and transferred into a prolonged state, it curbs the brain's ability to create new cells.
Along the ill effects it has on your body, stress deteriorates your performance. However, the good news is that stress is completely under your control. Top performers know exactly how to manage stress in difficult situations. They adopt a few strategies that help them tackle this issue effectively. Through our research, we've compiled a few strategies that are adopted by leading performers.
- An Attitude of Gratitude
Focusing on the good is not just the right thing to do, it also improves your mood by reducing the secretion of cortisol (stress hormone) by 23%. A research conducted by University of California found that people who worked consistently on creating an attitude of gratitude experienced more energy and were more in control of their life.
- Eliminate 'What Ifs'
Nothing throws more fuel into the fire of stress than a simple- What if? Things could have worked out in a million different ways, but they did not. And since they did not, there's no point thinking about them.
Sensible people know that asking themselves this question will only take them miles away from gratitude and increase their levels of cortisol.
- A Break from Technology
Technology is both a blessing and a curse. While it allows us to stay connected, it does not let us disconnect easily. It is impossible to enjoy a stress-free moment at home when you are constantly receiving emails from work and are planning your mental responses to them. Even something as simple as an email break or a break from using your phone can drastically reduce stress. You do not have to do this for hours at a stretch, but try doing it as often as you can. Soon, your colleagues and employers will respect your privacy and only contact you during hours that are acceptable by you.
- Cut Down the Caffeine
Consuming caffeine leads to the release of adrenaline. This causes your body and mind to deliver faster responses which is great when you're working out at the gym or indulging in some kind of adventure but it is not exactly helpful when you're responding to a complicated situation at work. When caffeine causes your body and mind to be hyper-aroused, your emotions overpower your behavior, which often leads to brash responses. While these fast responses help you in jumping off that plane while sky-diving, they may backfire when you're responding to a curt email from a client.
- Sleep Well
While we sleep, our brain recharges itself, discarding and reshuffling the day's memories. The deprivation of sleep increases cortisol secretion even in the absence of a stressful situation. Just like we take the time to charge our electronic gadgets, receiving a good night's sleep is a way to recharge our mind.
- Perspective is the Key
You might think that work, unfriendly colleagues or bad bosses are the reason you are in a constant state of stress, but that is not the truth. While you can not change the situation you're in, you can change your response to it. And when you look at things differently, everything starts to change. This might sound like something you've heard a million times before but works wonders when you start practicing it. Start looking at your life's situations as an outsider and alter your responses accordingly.