How much energy do you waste through the week feeling stressed, frustrated and over reacting? These fight or flight responses, which are meant to be short lived and sporadic, are not only exhausting if felt for a prolonged period of time, they damage our performance and they stop really good people from becoming outstanding leaders.
Neuroscientist Dr Matthew Lieberman of UCLA, has found that when we suffer prolonged stress, we experience a deficit in our problem solving similar to a 10-15 point drop in our IQ which impacts our “higher level” thinking, such as logic, decision making, creativity and judgement.
So how do you manage your emotions when the pressure is high? Here are some of my top tips.
How often do we truly pause from our busy lives to distress and re-energise? As I look through the calendars of my clients, I see a day back to back with meetings, and not a break in sight… not even for lunch and often not even time to go to the bathroom. And we are not much better in our ‘downtime’ – checking phones for emails, worrying about work, looking after our families, keeping up with friends. Busy has almost become part of who we are.
Put simply if we want sustained high performance this is not the way to go about it. We know that stress reduces our IQ by 10-15 points and tiredness affects all aspects of our performance, including creativity and problem solving by up to 50%. What we need to do is pause, reflect and consider every day, what are we doing for ourselves to recharge our batteries.