Top Performing Leaders are Skilled at Remaining Calm Under Stress
As I noted in the previous blog posts on How Stress Impacts Decision Making By Leaders, How Stress Pushes Leaders Into Bad Decisions, and How Stress Impacts the Brains of Leaders, too many poor decisions are made by organizational leaders as a result of stress. Fortunately, there is a way for leaders to use mindfulness practices and techniques to make better decisions, improve cognitive thinking, and create better outcomes for themselves and their organizations.
Across the world, mindfulness and meditation practices are becoming less associated with only alternative lifestyles and cultures.
In fact, mindfulness and meditation are actually increasingly becoming an important part of the daily routines for millions and millions of people. According to TIME magazine, yoga is now practiced by 11% of Americans and meditation is used by 9.9%.
How will this increase in personal mindfulness practices impact the workplace? According to some, it has already begun. In a study of 85,000 adults reported in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention journal Preventing Chronic Disease, “Approximately one in seven workers report engagement in some form of mindfulness-based activity, and thus individuals can bring awareness of the benefit of used practices into the workplace.” The authors of the study cited activities such as yoga and meditation as having been shown to improve employee well-being and productivity. Their conclusion: “the high and increasing rates of exposure to mindfulness practices among U.S. workers is encouraging.”
How important is stress management for leaders? The emotional intelligence service TalentSmart conducted research with over one million people and found that 90% of top performers are skilled in remaining calm under stress.
There is little doubt that stress is a major obstacle in life. A recent survey from the American Psychological Association (APA) states that nearly 50% of Americans are kept awake at night due to stress. And numerous studies have shown that cumulative and chronic stress are both linked to a higher risk of both heart attack and stroke. And, according to the American Institute of Stress (AIS) website, “Numerous studies show that job stress is far and away the major source of stress for American adults and that it has escalated precariously over the past few decades.”
There are numerous ways to reduce stress and its impact on your body, mind, emotions, and brain. Some of these are useful in combating momentary stress or anxiety, while others are long-term practices that can help you control the negative stresses in your life and aid you in making better decisions. I share many of these techniques and practices in my book Better Decisions Better Thinking Better Outcomes.
As in all methods for improving one’s physical and mental wellbeing, it is best to consult with your physician or other certified medical practitioners before employing new techniques and methods. Also, I encourage you to do further in-depth research on the methods, benefits, and any side effects on such techniques and methods before you start to implement them.
This article is partially excerpted from my award-winning book Better Decisions Better Thinking Better Outcomes: How to go from Mind Full to Mindful Leadership, available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats. The book is the recipient of a Silver Award from the Nonfiction Authors Association for bringing “a comprehensive plan of action for improving life through recognizing decision-making patterns that don’t serve us well, don’t enrich our lives, and don’t bring us to our goals and dreams.”