Enhance Your Performance With These 5 Mental Well-Being Boosters
We often directly link performance to results. The better the results, the better the performance technically speaking. This makes sense of course, but to actually maintain longevity in your performance, and perform as a true ‘5-tool performer’, there’s more that needs to be addressed than just our results on paper.
Results without fulfillment, balance or happiness is failure in the grand scheme of things and not very likely to continue long term.
The reason I always equate performance to the big picture is based around perspective. Short term performance is a lot like immediate gratification. It’s nice in the moment, you feel good about yourself and you’ll probably even get recognized by your peers – and deservingly so – but at the end of the day does this really positively affect our well-being?
Well, yes and no.
Yes, as performance is unequivocally tied into well-being to a certain degree, how much so, depends on one’s goals, priorities, profession and personality type. Outstanding performance in your field gives you leverage; leverage creates opportunity, which can earn you more income. Said income can help take care of your family, provides you with purposes to create a greater impact, allows you to see the world in a more meaningful manner, and aids in the service of others looking to learn from you.
No, because true well-being has layers. Short term performance results with neglect towards the other important pillars of your life is short-cited and potentially very harmful to our sense of being.
Short-term performance results with the awareness that the other pillars of your life still need to be nurtured in some regard however, is the ‘5-tool performer’ way of looking at true success.
That’s what this article highlights.
I want anyone who reads this and wants to be a top performer in their field to do so, but not at the expense of their well-being. There’s a way we can have both. It just takes the know-how and awareness to mesh these two desires in a harmonies manner.
Below are proven ways to enhance your performance by nurturing your mental sense of well-being.
Meditation is an ancient tool designed to help us relax the nervous system, reduce stress levels and improve our emotional state. Meditation has a direct effect on regions of the brain that are correlated with anxiety, depression and tolerance.
When we meditate we create higher levels of alpha waves, shown to reduce sadness, tension and anger and increase feelings of joy, positivity and bliss.
By strengthening these regions of the brain we naturally see things from a more logical, rational, aware state of mind, resulting in improved decision making, better self-control, healthier thinking patterns and aids in our ability to connect, communicate and see things for what they truly are.
When we’re in a more relaxed, rational state of mind, we can handle precarious situations with far more grace and poise, compared to otherwise.
2. Sunlight: Vitamin D
According to Dr. Rhonda Patrick, 70% of people are deficient of vitamin D, an essential nutrient for a healthy immune system and also an easily accessible mood enhancer. The mood boosting hormone serotonin is shown to be released with sun exposure – no wonder we’re so happy on the beach during the summer.
Not only is serotonin associated with mood boosting properties, but in the evening serotonin is converted to melatonin – a crucial growth factor for the body and a hormone that aids in a strong deep sleep – amplifying the sun’s effect.
Remember, our bodies circadian rhythm is connected to daylight sun exposure and night time darkness. When we don’t receive the natural thing during the day, our body’s natural patterns get interrupted, causing an array of performance dibilitators like poor mood, impulsive behavior and less energy.
How do we get more Vitamin D?
We obtain this essential nutrient by being in the sun. As little as 10-30 minutes of midday sunlight is suffice. This is as simple as going for a walk on your lunch hour, which should be a non-negotiable when talking in terms of performance and well-being.
Nature is finally getting the credit it deserves in the world of mental health development. More research is coming out highlighting the benefits of spending time in nature, with research out of Rochester University showcasing similar energizing effects as a cup of coffee!! Starbucks has some competition, and it’s name is Nature.
Studies show spending just 20 minutes a day in nature was enough to boost vitality levels. And when you actually think about all the benefits nature affords us – the serenity, the greenery, fresh air, sunlight (as highlighted in our previous section), and the openness, the usefulness on overall performance should come as no real surprise.
According to a recent 2018 study reported by Harvard University, a new type of therapy known as ecotherapy has a strong effect in reducing feelings of anxiety and depression while decreasing our body’s stress hormones. The research suggests nature walks have a positive effect on limiting our prefrontal cortex activation, the part of the brain that is active for ruminating thoughts, decision making, and complex cognitive behaviour -often connected to negative thoughts and stresses when overwhelmed.
With all this being stated, nature is not only necessary for a thriving ecosystem and environment, but also a convenient resource when it comes to becoming a true ‘5-tool performer’. Try nature bathing – the act of immersing yourself in nature – the next time you need a little energy or mood boost before working on a big task.
4. Morning Movement Specifically
Exercise and well-being is well researched, and something I seemingly highlight every other blog article I write in some small form or fashion. For the sake of spicing it up, I decided to highlight morning movement as a mental enhancer for improved performance and for good reason.
The morning would be the most logical place to start when speaking of movement. Your body just stayed relatively static for 7-8 hours and is desperately in need of some necessary blood flow and muscle release.
Morning movement sparks a body, mind and soul ready for response and productivity.
Here’s an efficient 4 minute head-to-toe morning movement routine I just read about, and really enjoyed using for myself and my AM clients especially.
- Relax and move your neck side-to-side
- Open your upper back
- Rotate your shoulders
- Stretch your sides
- Go through deep hip flexion and extension
- Rotate your hips
- Work on your balance
The benefits of morning movement on the mind are incredible, especially in terms of the compound effect and optimized performance.
- You feel better for the rest of the day
- You will help auto-regulate yourself
- You release nagging body tightness and tension
- You spend less time prepping for workouts
- Your muscles work better
- Your body is in less pain
- Your joints loosen up
- Your posture improves
- You have more alertness, focus and energy
Yep…these will all aid in greater performance.
5. Eat Well
I would feel like an impostor, like I was providing you, the reader, a disservice, if I didn’t tie in food with mental well-being. It’s too important to neglect, regardless of how repetitive some readers may think. And although this is another subject I write up on often and highly educate people on when it comes to living a more meaningful, fulfilling, high performing life, it’s something worth hearing a thousand times over.
In terms of mental connection, food effects our brain, our gut and overall sense of being to a great degree. Remember, its not mind and body, it’s not mind-body, it’s mindbody. These two elements are interconnected. What we feed the body drastically affects the brain.
To be concise,
a healthy diet for the brain would include adequate building blocks for monoamine neurotransmitters, be rich in omega-3 fatty acids, be anti-inflammatory, foster BDNF production, and support a healthy microbiome.
Lachance, L., & Ramsey, D. (2015). Food, mood, and brain health: implications for the modern clinician. Missouri medicine, 112(2), 111–115.
Inflammatory foods, which need to be avoided for a healthy mindbody, are often found in sugar-sweetened drinks, refined grains, simple carbohydrates and diet soft drinks. I will link a blog article here to give you a more in-depth nutrition layout that will surely enhance your mental state of being.