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Stress management with a focus on the science of the mind

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Increase Performance, Expert Calgary Life Management Coaching 2017-04-08T13:38:02+00:00

Expert Calgary Life Management Coaching

Peak Performance: The Positive Power of “Flow”

Dr. Michael Haggstrom and Marcus Pankiw, Clinical Psychotherapists

Use stress wisely and you will accomplish much.
Mismanaged stress destroys health and relationships.

~ Michael Haggstrom ~

When Stress Is Good

Stress gets us moving. It gets you out of bed and mobilizes us to take on the day. At work, stress helps us manage time efficiently to get things done within a certain time frame. Not surprisingly, a life without stress is an unproductive one.

It’s no secret. Stress initially increases your performance, but too much stress will eventually burn you out. Modern technology has helped us increase productivity, yet we find ourselves with less time to enjoy life.

Peak performance is when you feel completely taken over and time flies, where you have complete focus with high levels of productivity. The psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi performed one of the largest worldwide studies on peak performance and termed the experience as “flow”  to describe the sensation participants experienced when at their best.

Flow

“Flow” is when distractions have no power, when the only thing that matters is where our mind is focused. It can be a goal, a project, a person or an experience. It’s about being completely present with whatever is right in front of you and is a skill now learned by high performing athletes.

Eckhart Tolle described such an experience in a rather different manner in his book “The Power of Now”. He saw it as being able to provide complete presence and attention to the current moment, where the past and the future have no hold on the mind: a place where worry and self-criticism are non-existent. Instead, there is a calm focused attention upon the now.

Brain Function

With recent scientific study, we have learned that at peak performance the brain functions differently than at other times in the day.  The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, normally used for self-monitoring and evaluation, goes offline. This assists in problem-solving that can now occur without effort and in turn results in higher cognitive operations. Hence, the term “flow” as previously described seems to one of the best terms for this state of high productivity and attention.

Staying in the Zone

Such a state can be learned, but not if our minds get cluttered with worry. Stress unconsciously taxes our energy by bogging down our minds with negative thinking and distractions that decrease our effectiveness which inevitably causes us to get behind on all we need to get done. We will lose passion, get depressed and feel guilty at falling so far behind our dreams.

The Yerkes-Dobson principle states that stress increases your performance, and even your health, as it rises. This is what is referred to as “eustress”. However, when stress gets to a certain point, performance and wellbeing suffer. This is what is call “distress”.

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To keep your performance at optimal levels will depend on:

   1)  How good you are at managing all of your responsibilities

   2)  How well you master your thoughts and feelings

   3)  How skilled you are at keeping your mind clear and focused

Increase Performance – Expert Calgary Life Management Coaching

Here at Solutions for Life Calgary, we can help you:

1)  Learn How to Optimize Stress
2)  Master Your Negative Stressors
3)  Create Work-Life Balance
4)  Transform Negative Moods
5)  Manage Negative Thoughts
6)  Improve Focus & Productivity

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Dr. Michael Haggstrom
& Marcus Pankiw

Recommended Resources:

During flow, people typically experience deep enjoyment, creativity, and a total involvement with life. In this groundbreaking classic work, Csikszentmihalyi demonstrates the ways this positive state can be controlled, not just left to chance

In Focus, Psychologist Daniel Goleman, offers a groundbreaking look at today’s scarcest resource and the secret to high performance and fulfillment. Cutting-edge research, Focus delves into the science of attention

The Power of Now has sold over 2 million copies worldwide. An inspiring spiritual journey to find their true and deepest self and reach the ultimate in personal growth and spirituality. Tolle awakens readers to mastering the mind

Peak Performance combines the inspiring stories of top performers across a range of capabilities – from athletic, to intellectual, to artistic – with the latest scientific insights into the cognitive and neurochemical factors that drive performance

Sources:

Time Science, Steven Kotler, Apr 2014 – The Science of Peak Human Performance

TedTalk: Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: Flow, the secret to happiness