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Peak Mind Pro: Navigate Stress without Being Stressed Out

Back-to-school is always a stressful time for working parents. This year, however, makes previous ones look like a breeze. Set against the back drop of an ongoing pandemic, seemingly constant transitions in the workplace, and heavy world events, it’s important for employees to navigate stress more than ever.

In fact, a recent Gallop survey paints this picture vividly with data. Nearly half of employees experience a lot of worry on a daily basis and over half have a lot of daily stress. Rates of both are higher compared to last year, and the rates are highest for employees in the U.S. and Canada. 

This is troubling news because chronic stress is associated with all sorts of negative effects on your physical and mental health, like increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, depression, anxiety, and even death. 

Chronic stress impacts employee work performance, too. There’s not an off switch to flip to leave the stress load at home. Instead, poorly managed stress shows up at work in the form of presenteeism, disengagement (80% of employees are disengaged at work these days. 80%!), poor concentration, low efficiency, low creativity, difficulty prioritizing, and difficulty problem-solving and decision-making. 

Bottom line: Chronic, poorly controlled stress affects your organization’s bottom line.  

We want to do more than just tell you about the damaging effects of stress at Peak Mind. Instead, we are here to give you tools – outside of the standard deep breathing – to help you reduce stress and minimize the impact of stressful situations. 

Stress, which is our body and brain’s reaction to any demand for our time, attention, and energy, is unavoidable. Fortunately, human beings are actually designed to handle a very high stress load…for a short period of time. The problems arise when the stress never ends, which is pretty much the case in our modern world. It’s important that we take steps at work and in our personal lives to create environments and routines that protect us against stress. Even basics like getting adequate sleep, hydrating and eating, moving as well as resting throughout the day, and periods without technology can make a drastic difference.  

There is a silver lining here. While stress is unavoidable, it isn’t all bad. When managed well, stress can actually be good for you. Stress can focus attention and provide the energy and motivation necessary to do well on a task. Under the right circumstances, stress can have a positive impact on your heart, making it more resilient. It can make you, as a person, more resilient as well. The challenge is turning bad stress (distress) into good stress (eustress).

Two of the biggest factors that help transform stress are: 

  1.  Believing that your efforts are worth it. 
  2.  Believing that you are capable of handling the task demands. 

 How can you help your team or organization tap into those mindsets? 

Tools to Try

High stress can lead to overwhelm and difficulty prioritizing tasks and directing energy. That’s because high stress and anxiety bring with it a sense of urgency, making everything feel like it must be done right this second. The Priority Matrix is a helpful tool to sort tasks and develop a game plan. Use this tool on your own or with your team.

  • Urgent tasks have an impending deadline or are time sensitive. 
  • Important tasks matter. They provide value and make a significant impact toward meaningful goals.  

 

Psychological Strength

At Peak Mind, we’re dedicated to helping individuals and organizations thrive. We do this by teaching skills to build psychological strength, which encompasses solid stress management skills along with resiliency and mental toughness. 

Are you interested in learning what psychological strength is, how it operates in day-to-day life, and how you (and your team) can start to build it? Subscribe to our monthly newsletter

Additional Resources

Our podcast vault contains a wealth of information to help in nearly every situation, including managing stress. These two episodes may be of particular interest to you.

Episode 267: How to Support Yourself Through Transitions

Episode 212: What to Do When You’re Stretched Too Thin

“It’s not stress that kills us. It’s our reaction to it.”
 – Hans Selye
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Podcasts

Diet Culture vs. Nutrition as a Self-Care Practice

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How often do you think about your own diet and the food you eat as a form of self-care? What does that even mean? So much of our understanding of what constitutes a HEALTHY diet is shaped by diet culture and what amount to marketing messages designed to sell products and services. We forget that nourishment is one of the most basic needs our bodies have, and that we’re able to be psychologically impacted in the realm of this basic need, just like we are in so many other areas of our lives.

It’s important to remember that body type, body size, and body image are three distinct terms that cross the mental and physical chasms. With the vast majority of our inputs focusing more on food choices and eliminating “fat” bodies by losing weight, much of the western world experiences some form of disordered eating behaviors and weight stigma. And while health at every size is possible, anti-diet cultures that focus on nutrition and intuitive eating can help to reduce national eating disorders.

Today, we’re speaking with Jessica Begg. She is is a Registered Dietitian and a Registered Clinical Counsellor. Jessica has a private practice based in Vancouver, Canada and has worked in many eating disorders programs in her area for over 10 years. She works now to help people heal from binge and emotional eating and start building a more peaceful relationship with food their body.

We hit on so many important topics in this episode:

  1. The impact of diet culture on our health & wellbeing
  2. The role of our emotion in the way we eat
  3. The impact of all of this on our self-concept and our relationship with our our body
  4. The dangerous link between diet culture and disordered eating
  5. And finally, how to cultivate a healthier relationship with food and our own bodies

This is a topic that impacts each and every one of us on a daily basis, and I’m thrilled to have Jessica here to help us navigate it more peacefully.

Learn more about Jessica and her program at: www.shiftnutrition.com

Categories
Podcasts

Psychological Strength for Our Front-Line Healthcare Workers

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This episode was created for and is dedicated to our front-line healthcare workers.  

The responsibility you are being asked to shoulder amidst a time of incredible uncertainty and rapid change is overwhelming. We see you. We see the sacrifice you’re making. We can attempt to empathize with the emotional toll this must all be taking.  

When you play such an important role in supporting others, it’s important that others support you. We support you. 

This week, I’m speaking with Lisa Wimberger, the founder of the Neuroscultping Institute. Lisa created neurosculpting using a combination of meditation and brain science to develop a hands-on technique that can reset and retrain your brain and your nervous system to down-regulate during times of stress. 

She originally created neurosculpting in 2007 to help first-responders cope with the incredible intensity of their jobs. Too many first-responders suffer emotional trauma and PTSD from simply doing their jobs, and the neurosculpting technique can help guard against that. 

You can see why I asked Lisa to join me for this special episode of Building Psychological Strength. I wanted to give our front-line medical professionals tools they can use to remain balanced during a time of excruciating pressure.  

During our conversation, we: 

  • Acknowledge the different situations healthcare workers are in and how stressful they all are, regardless of whether the “surge” has hit your area or not, 
  • We talk about what we can do as community members to support healthcare workers 
  • Lisa covers the role our nervous system is playing in this situation, including the way it is supposed to work, and the way it does work in a period of sustained stress. 
  • What healthcare workers can be doing to help down-regulate their nervous system during this time.  
  • Known ways you can tune your vagus nerve. 
  • The 3 keys to successful neuroplasticity 

This episode is packed with resources for everyone, but in particular, for front-line healthcare workers.  

We also highlighted a number of resources 

Finally, Lisa announced the upcoming launch of her new neurosculpting app. Learn more at: www.neuropraxis.com  

Now more than ever, neurosculpting practices that utilize your left and right brain are so terribly important. Focused attention brain training with simple practices can re-shape the activity in your brain and alter your life. For health care workers in particular, simple meditation practices serve as healthy brain nutrition so that you can grow beyond the stress of today.