Mindfulness tools and tips for high performers
Chelsea Pottenger is on a mission to have businesses prioritise their employees’ mental health. Following on from last year's popular Month of Mindfulness events, Chelsea led today’s free impact series event for Growth Faculty: Resilience Through Uncertainty with Chelsea Pottenger.
The founder and director of EQ Minds, international speaker, accredited Mindfulness & Meditation coach, and ambassador for mental health for R U OK? releases her first book The Mindful High Performer on the 31st of May.
Today's Resilience Through Uncertainty event focused on 4 key areas using tips and tools from her book:
· The science behind why your brain can change
· Building resilience: A self-efficacy tool
· Dissolve stress with this technique
· Grit: How to embrace change
The science behind why your brain can change
Here Chelsea discussed neuroplasticity and the ability of the brain to change up until the day we die. Chelsea explained how new synaptic connections form as we try new things or learn new information. The brain will also “prune” things we don’t use. So “what we feed out mind truly matters,” says Chelsea.
“There is always hope for healing, retraining, and resetting our brain,” she says.
Brain training activity: Rotate your foot clockwise, then as it’s rotating try to draw a number ‘6’ with your index finger. After practising for 66 days (the length of time it takes to develop a habit) you will become an ankle-rotating-figure-six-drawing champion!
Building resilience: A self-efficacy tool
Resilience in tough times very much depends on your “self-efficacy”.
In 1977 Professor Albert Bandura put forward a theory: Self-efficacy is a person’s belief in their ability to succeed in a particular situation.
According to Chelsea, people with high self-efficacy:
· Exert more effort and persist longer in the face of adversity.
· Approach challenges as things to be mastered.
· Surpass insurmountable barriers.
People with low self-efficacy:
· Avoid challenges.
· Take fewer risks.
· Give up quicker.
To build self-efficacy and resilience, Chelsea recommended Meta/Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Dr Adam Grant’s co-authored book Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy, written after the death of Sandberg’s husband Dave Goldberg.
1. Journal an experience when you faced adversity. It could be the loss of a job, a loved one, missing out on a promotion, post-natal depression, an embarrassing moment.
2. Ask yourself ‘Did I overcome it?’
3. ‘What did I learn?’
4. ‘How did I grow?’
Doing this exercise helps you to take steps away from ‘post-traumatic stress’ to ‘post-traumatic growth’, says Chelsea.
Dissolve stress with this technique
Like an athlete, every high performer needs rest and recovery time to recharge and to reduce concentration fatigue. Chelsea points to the myriad high performers and successful entrepreneurs featured in the podcast “How I Built This with Guy Raz” who say they practice mindfulness training.
She says scientific research shows mindfulness practice ‘quietens down’ or dampens activity in our amygdala, while the prefrontal cortex gets a workout to keep us sharp.
Chelsea recommended the TED Talk “My stroke of insight” with Dr Jill Bolte Taylor.
Reduce anxiety in 90 seconds activity
1. Name 4 things you can SEE
2. Name 4 things you can HEAR
3. Name 4 things you can TASTE
4. Name 4 things you can FEEL
5. Name 4 things you can SMELL
Grit: How to embrace change
Finally, Chelsea told a story of not making the NSW State Basketball team when a teenager, and being told by her coach “You’re just not good enough….yet.”
Chelsea says the “yet” takes the full-stop off your potential. She says psychologists have tweaked the “Practice makes perfect” mantra to a more helpful:
“Practice makes progress!”
Building grit activity: As yourself “What am I not good at?” Then add the word “yet”. It should look something like this: “I can’t………..yet. However, if I………………..(actions)…success still lies ahead.”
Chelsea finished up by saying that it’s okay to hit the pavement. Not having things go your way is part of a balanced life. “It’s going to be okay,” she says.
Conversation starter questions
To keep the conversation going with your team, have a discussion around these questions:
· What are you not good at, yet?
· What actions can you put against this to make progress?
· What will you do to build resilience?
· How can start your day correctly to ensure you are in the best position to handle the inevitable speed bumps of life?
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