Here’s what you need to know
In this fast-paced world, we are required to be on top of our game every day. We are expected to be consistent and resilient; to handle the stresses involved in life and work and all without batting an eyelid and still producing results. How can we possibly meet these mounting demands? Many of us use caffeine, supplements or are continuously on the lookout for some regime that will change everything. Others turn to alcohol, drugs, or other forms of instant gratification to numb that inner voice. Ultimately the crutch becomes a curse and we end up dependent on it. What can we possibly do to stand up against this onslaught? The answer lies not without but within.
Everything we do is a cognitive task and ultimately comes down to good decision making and subsequent appropriate action. These require a stable, self-aware mind. As the mind originates from a physical brain and the brain is supported by our physical bodies, the secret to consistent performance lies in a consistent healthy lifestyle. One which supports and nourishes the brain – the phrase ‘healthy body, healthy mind’ rings true. So how do we optimise our lives for optimal brain and mind health? This is where we come in.
At Day By Day Solutions we are concerned with helping you be at your best daily. To do this we must look at two factors: our lifestyle and our mind-set. Let us begin with lifestyle. This is essentially how we go about supporting our brains. In the 1940s a psychologist called Abraham Maslow developed a hierarchy of needs as part of his theory of human motivation. This is the pyramid you see below (figure 1):
Source: Day By Day Solutions
Figure 1Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
The ‘physiological’ section refers to our most basic needs: food, water, shelter and sleep. Without properly attending to each of these categories it is very difficult if not impossible to foster consistent performance. If you look at elite athletes they take their nutrition, rest and recovery almost as seriously as they take their training. This is because they know that their bodies and minds take time to recover from the stresses they are being put through. Going to work is no different. We are stressing both our minds and our bodies. It is therefore crucial that we make the time each day for eating, sleeping and in the case of most sedentary modern employment, physical activity. With these factors properly taken care of we can form the foundations of solid performance.
Next, we move on to looking at our minds. Taking care of our minds is slightly more nuanced than looking after our physical needs. The pyramid shows us that we have many psychological needs which require attention. How often do we fill our schedules with work or things we don’t care to do? It is easy enough to plan tasks in your week relating to work but how often do we take time for ourselves, take stock of our feelings and thoughts? How often do we make time for activities we truly enjoy? These psychological wants and needs are equally as important as their physical counterparts and need to be attended to for a healthy mind.
When looking at the mind it is crucial to also consider mind-set. What do we mean by this term that is so often banded around? We are referring to a set of beliefs or attitudes held by an individual. This is the compass that allows us to navigate life. It determines our mental resilience and affects everything we do. So many of us do not ever take the time to think introspectively, to self-examine. However, with the right tools we can cope with any stresses that are put upon us.
From today, we will be giving you advice on how to optimise your life for daily performance every Monday. How often do you hear motivational speakers saying ‘Just do X and you’ll be better than ever’ without any real guidance on how to apply it to your life. Here at Day By Day Solutions we want to do away with that mysticism and give you the tools to be at your best every day. So, until next week: keep calm and keep performing.