Recently I was asked: Can people work ten hours a day, five and sometimes six days a week for extended periods of time and enjoy high levels of creative performance without burning out? The answer is yes . . . if — and only if — a person is adept at transcending stress. If he or she can do that, they are much more likely to succeed, and in ways that will make work intrinsically rewarding.
Neurologically, transcending stress is achieved through the shift in attitude that takes us from anxious to peaceful. Stress is psychological fear; peace is neurological power. That’s not my opinion; that’s science’s definition. Mercifully, making this shift is simpler than we might think, producing meaningful results in a relatively short period of time. In my book, Mystic Cool, and in workshops, I provide ten simple tools that sustain the shift from stress to peace, without adding to your to-do list. But you can make this shift right away. Starting tomorrow, begin your day in peace and dedicate the rest of the day to the goal of sustaining your peace of mind, regardless of what happens. Here’s one approach:
- In the morning, when you come into the kitchen to make coffee or tea, while it is brewing sit in a chair and quietly look out the window at the morning.
- Be present, here and now. Simply follow your breathing, relax your mind, and open your heart.
- If there is any tightness in your body, feel it. Feeling it actually releases the tightness.
- Feel whatever emotion you feel. Meet it with a willingness to feel it and then let it pass.
- Forgive whatever transgressions you or someone else committed that still linger from the day before and make this day new.
Commit yourself to being at peace today, remembering the brain power science tells us it inevitably provides.
During the five minutes it takes to make the coffee, you can brew the attitude that will make your day. What could be simpler? Stress, on the other hand, is what makes things difficult. The cost to us, personally and professionally, is enormous. Stress depletes the higher order brain function, physical stamina, and enthusiasm that sustain peak performance. A dynamically peaceful attitude restores the brain power that keeps you at the top of your game.