It's Summer and the Energy is High
It’s Summer and the Energy is High
By Deborah Olive
Summers in Gig Harbor offer long days and blue skies, Farmer’s Markets and concerts in the park. Runners, hikers, cyclists, golfers and boaters immerse themselves in the beautiful landscapes we enjoy in the Pacific Northwest. Vacations mean visits to carefully selected destinations and stories to tell. Coming home to Gig Harbor means breathtaking beauty and appreciation for our quality of life. Increased outdoor activity, vacations and participation in events in and around town, tend to lift attitudes and keep our energy high.
But what happens when it doesn’t?
If you’ve been reading my articles over the past months, you know I coach entrepreneurs and business owners. Developing, implementing and executing strategies is important to a successful business. So is mindset. Whether or not you’re a business owner, you know that high energy and a good attitude create a sense of positive expectancy. Interactions with clients, employees, vendors, family, colleagues and people in general are better. Working with computers, gadgets and tools is easier too. Your problem solving skills are at their finest when you expect a positive outcome and your energy is high. The reverse is also true. When your energy and attitude sag, try as you might, it’s just a matter of time, and your results sag too.
Behind the Curtain: Neuroscience
Over the past three decades, research in neuroscience has blossomed, and findings show what we intuitively know - that keeping our attitude and energy high supports our performance. There are two types of stress: eustress (good stress) and distress (bad stress). Both impact our neurochemistry and release cortisol, which prepares you for action. Eustress creates a “seize-the-day” heightened awareness associated with a tangible goal that channels the effects of cortisol and increases performance. Distress, or free floating anxiety, backfires. Cortisol, which was designed to insure our survival as hunter gatherers sticks around in our body and causes all sorts of havoc, including: lower immune function, decreased brain function, increased weight gain and heart disease. The list goes on and on. Our own biology sabotages us.
First Step: Decide
Under distress, performance drops. This means it’s advisable to obsess on keeping your energy and attitude high. Yes, obsess – like it’s advisable to obsess about keeping your children safe, making sure there’s enough gas in the tank or taking care of your clients. Energy and attitude are only ONE part of mindset; nevertheless, they work in tandem to alter your neurochemistry and positively impact both your thinking and your health. The first step to maintaining high energy and a positive attitude is to decide it’s a priority.
Second Step: Notice
Second, engage your curiosity and notice, “Am I more like a thermometer or a thermostat?” A thermometer measures and reports outer conditions. When the temperature is hot, it reports hot, and when it’s cold, it reports cold. On the other hand, a thermostat not only measures the temperature, but draws upon resources to keep the temperature in a predetermined range. To discover if you’re more like a thermometer or a thermostat, simply “notice what you’re noticing.” This means taking a step back so you clearly see the relationship between your energy and attitude and what’s happening around you.
In our fast paced world, you and I encounter people who cut us off in traffic, a vendor who doesn’t deliver what or when they say, difficult conversations, hidden chemicals in our environment and the list goes on. When outer circumstances dictate our energy and attitude, we act like a thermometer. On the other hand, when we notice what’s going on around us and choose how we’ll manage our energy and attitude, we respond like a thermostat. We increase our capacity to arrange resources for a desired outcome.
Third Step: Action
Consistent action is the third step to maintain high energy and an elevated attitude.
Your Practices Deliver Results. Use ENERGY as an Acronym to remember.
Embrace the idea that less is more. Look for ways to increase your results while decreasing the number of tasks you say "yes" to.
Notice what you’re noticing. When done mindfully, this practice helps you identify energy gainers and drainers. Turn up the volume on your energy gainers. Reduce the energy drainers. It's common sense, but common sense isn't always common.
Exercise throughout the day. If you’re somewhat sedentary, a few 10-minute exercise breaks help increase both your physical and mental energy. On the other hand, if you’re quite active, a few 10-minute water breaks serve a dual purpose: you stay hydrated and you restore physical energy.
Reclaim your mornings. Set the tone for your day BEFORE you dive into everything that needs to be done. Decide EARLY what’s most important in your day.
Gratitude focuses your attention on what you DO have rather than what you DON’T have and provides a predictable lift.
YOU decide. Are you more like a thermostat or a thermometer?
It’s summer in Gig Harbor, and there are countless ways for community activities, the beautiful outdoors and the people we know and love to boost both our energy and our attitude. There are three keys to maintaining this when “skies are gray." It’s in your DNA: Decide. Notice. Act.