Did you know that feeling stressed and overwhelmed at work can actually make you less productive, and even lower your IQ? This fact alone should motivate you to stay calm and focused throughout your day. Contrary to popular belief, stress doesn't mean you're working harder or accomplishing more. In fact, it can lead to burnout if you remain in a fight-or-flight state for extended periods. Here are three tips to help you stay focused and calm during your day:

Ideas to stay calm and focused

Tip 1: Externalise Your Thoughts

You might not realise it, but your brain isn't equipped to store a vast amount of information at once. Ideally, it's designed to handle only seven to nine items in short-term memory at any given time. Chances are, you're trying to keep track of much more than that. This overloading causes stress and an overwhelmed feeling even before your day begins. The solution is simple: get all these thoughts out of your head and onto paper. Organise your to-do lists and use a calendar to schedule time to complete these tasks. Create a trustworthy system so your brain can relax, knowing everything is under control.

Tip 2: Cultivate Calm

You have an incredible ability to achieve calmness, but it requires cultivation. Experiment and discover what helps you maintain a calm mind. It could be meditation, yoga, breath work, or engaging in calming activities like pottery, tai chi, cooking, or gardening. Find what works for you and practice it regularly.

Tip 3: Take Time Out

Whenever you start feeling overwhelmed, taking time out and addressing your stress is crucial. Remember, your productivity and IQ are at their lowest when stressed, so pushing through isn't the answer. First, find what effectively calms your nervous system. This could be moving your body, like going for a walk, talking to someone you trust, breathing exercises, EFT tapping, or shaking your body. Exercise can be a great option if you have time. Spend time in nature to discover what helps you best manage your stress within your available time frame.

Once you start feeling calmer, assess what's causing your stress and look for practical solutions. Do you need to ask for help? Should you get your thoughts onto paper? Is it necessary to extend any deadlines? Identifying and addressing these factors can prevent stress from overwhelming you. The more you practice techniques that help you stay calm and focused, the more productive and happier you will be.

💡 Interested in a PepTalk Live session on this subject? We have a wealth of expert wellbeing and mental health speakers in our network, here to help ensure you and your team can win at the business of life — simply drop us an email, and we'll set up a free strategy call.

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