Focus Fuel: Slay the Stress Monster with Daily Reflection
“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”Anne Lamott
The Neuroscience of Stress and Cortisol
When you experience stress, your body activates the “fight or flight” response, releasing cortisol and adrenaline.
While short-term stress can improve focus and performance, chronic stress can harm your body and mind. For example, cortisol impacts cognitive function. High cortisol levels can impair memory, hinder learning, and reduce cognitive function.
Prolonged exposure to stress can lead to burnout, negatively affecting productivity and well-being.
Psychological Strategies to Reduce Stress
Mindfulness practices like meditation and deep breathing can help reduce stress and improve focus.
Research has shown that mindfulness can lower cortisol levels, enhance cognitive function, and boost productivity. Cognitive reframing helps change your perspective on a situation to promote a more positive outlook. Reframing stressors as challenges rather than threats can increase your resilience and improve your ability to cope with stress.
Take Action with Daily Reflections
Next week, make a conscious effort to include mindful practices in your daily routine using reflective prompts.
Set aside 5-10 minutes daily to answer these prompts, helping you focus on the positive aspects of your life.
Here are some prompts and ideas to get you started:
- What’s one thing that brought me joy or made me smile today?
- What is something I used to struggle with that I have now mastered?
- How can I show kindness to myself or others today?
- How can I take a problem from today and inoculate it in the future?
- What inspiring or uplifting quote, song, or story resonated with me today?
- How can I remind myself that progress is more important than perfection?
- If I were to tell a friend going through a similar challenge, what would I say to them?
Stress doesn’t have to stand in the way of accomplishing your goals.
By understanding the impact of stress and cortisol on productivity and adopting proven psychological strategies, you can manage stress more effectively and boost your performance. Use this newsletter’s insights and actionable steps to tackle stress and maximise your time and efforts.