Attaining Peak Performance in a relaxed state lies in making the conscious shift from Bad Stress to Good Stress. Here we explore the definition of both and how to do it.
Our brains pump two groups of chemicals when in stressful situations.
These two groups of different chemicals causes our body and brain to react differently in stressful situations, creating two types of stress – Good and Bad.
Through Emotional Intelligence training you learn how to make the switch from the Bad Stress, which causes; hypertension, obesity, depression and even diabetes… to the Good stress, which includes; motivation, optimism, poise and inner calm.
This is important to know for us to reach our ‘Peak Performance’ in whatever situation we are in. This peak performance is reached at our ‘balance point’ when our sympathetic nervous system (the one we cannot control with our mind) is releasing just the right balance of catechlomines creating a positive mood, and an ability to think and react optimally.
What is Bad Stress?
It is created when our brain goes into ‘emergency mode’ or a ‘fight or flight’ state, and starts pumping out cortisol in addition to the chemicals it normally releases. What I found pretty incredible is that it doesn’t take a ‘threat on the job’ or a negative comment from the boss to activate cortisol; boredom, impatience, frustration, even tiredness will do it!
Here’s what higher and more prolonged level of the chemical in your bloodstream will do to you (the negative impacts of cortisol):
- Impaired cognitive performance
- Suppressed thyroid function
- Blood sugar imbalances such as hyperglycemia
- Decreased bone density
- Decrease in muscle tissue
- Higher blood pressure
- Lowered immunity and inflammatory responses in the body, slowed wound healing, and other health consequences
- Increased abdominal fat, which is associated with a greater amount of health problems than fat deposited in other areas of the body. Some of the health problems associated with increased stomach fat are heart attacks, strokes, the development of metabolic syndrome, higher levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and lower levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL), which can lead to other health problems!
Yes, let’s move away from cortisol in high levels for prolonged periods in our body, it not only impedes your “Peak Performance” state in life and work, but also causes your body to start withering away.
The Essential Switch – Bad Stress to Good Stress!
This is were we switch the mind-state by developing Emotional Intelligence – the brain chemicals that generate enthusiasm for a challenge are different from those that respond to stress and threat – the big kicker, they don’t activate cortisol.
We can achieve this state when our energy is high, our effort maximal, and our mood positive. To get here we need to secrete chemicals called catecholomines - they arouse us to action in a more productive way than the frantic urgency of cortisol.
How do you develop this ability to reach the ‘balance point’ to achieve peak performance? By doing exactly that, balancing your current work life with relaxation, and techniques of reflection, and body/emotion awareness – this allows us to develop impulse control and self-management, including self-control.
Impulse and self-control don’t magically appear in your natural armory of personal tools – they arise out of experience, an experience that is develop from the techniques listed above.
Pause, Breath, Relax, Reflect and then Act - now you control your mind, before it secretes cortisol.
To condition yourself to be able to do this you must practice the tools that bring you the ability to Pause, how to Breath, How to Relax and Reflect… and then naturally the Action part will happen beautifully on it’s own.
Meditation and most notably Mindfulness Meditation brings you to an acute attunement to your body, breath and thoughts – experientially bringing you to a state of self-mastery, or deep wisdom to the subtleties of your body, breath and thoughts whenever you are about to get emotionally hijacked. This increased self-awareness is key for you to actively take part in engaging your Peak Performance.