Stress can occur at the thought level, at the focus level, and at the brain activation level (your survivor brain region). If you are 100% present, you cannot experience stress. Why? Because if you are 100% present, you are in the calm, clear-headed part of your brain. If you are thinking hard about reducing your stress, you are working against yourself.
Thinking hard about your stress actually increases it since you are activating the survivor brain region. So don’t try to think your way out of stress! There are many different strategies for managing stress. Today, let’s consider that your brain actually works differently when you take breaks. There is so much research now with definitive evidence that shows the correlation between increasing stress levels when no breaks are taken.
The research has shown three main takeaways:
1. Breaks between meetings allow the brain to ‘reset’, reducing a cumulative buildup of stress across meetings.
2. Back-to-Back meetings can decrease your ability to focus and engage.
3. Transitioning between meetings can be a source of high stress, causing spikes of stress.
It’s so important to avoid being one of the 54% who said they feel overworked, or the 39% who describe themselves as outright exhausted. Be creative, take advantage of new technology, and re-establish boundaries for yourself. There are new capabilities to foster wellbeing in this time of rapid change and I invite you to check them out.
So I encourage you to take breaks throughout your day. Shift your mindset by viewing breaks as an essential part of your day. Find activities that calm your mind during your breaks – meditation, visualization, walking, or doodling. Give yourself the gift of a break from all screens and your mind and your body will thank you!