This year has been a busy one, which is good because there is a lot of fun work but also bad because it is stressful. When I am stressed is when I use my mental skills the most, because I need to perform well and maintain my wellbeing. Many people don’t realize, but several mental skills that help you perform well also help you manage your stress and decrease the risk of anxiety and depression. Today I will share the skills that I use the most to manage my own performance and stress.
- Self-talk: Talking to myself helps me keep my focus and be more positive. Many times when something doesn’t work the way I expect I may be quite harsh with myself, so using positive self-talk helps me recognize the good things I’ve done and also trust my ability to improve what I didn’t do so well. As you can imagine, putting yourself down causes a lot of anxiety and in the long-term will make you feel that you are not good enough. Therefore, self-talk helps me perform better in the future and also manage my anxiety, besides preventing me from developing a negative view of myself (which is related to depression).
- Breathing relaxation: Even though I have good self-awareness and my self-talk is quite positive, I still feel anxiety and when I have my plate full (of work) I also feel overwhelmed. One strategy that helps me a lot in these situations is to use breathing relaxation. Of course that I use it together with self-talk and some actual task management activities (e.g., to-do list, planning) to solve the problems that are making me overwhelmed, but breathing helps me go from high anxiety to a state where I can think clearly and solve my problems.
- Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR): Another favorite of mine is PMR. PMR is when you couple deep breathing with a sequence of tensing and relaxing muscles. It takes you to a deep relaxation state. PMR helps me build my breathing relaxation skills (so I can relax more easily with deep breathing) and become better at noticing when my muscles are too tense. I like to use it before I go to bed, so I also sleep better.
- Mindfulness and meditation: Finally, mindfulness and meditation help me manage daily stress and also be more present both at work and at home. This skill is the one that I still need to work on the most to improve, especially because it’s so useful when I’m super busy. I have recently started yoga and I take mindful breaks at work to relax my mind and be more productive right after the break. It also helps me feel less overwhelmed.
I hope that these examples helped you realize how working on your performance also helps improve your wellbeing. As always, contact us if you want help to learn these skills, practice them, and implement them into your performance and life successfully. Mental skills are like physical skills and the more you practice them, the better you get at using them.