‘The right frame of mind’ is a phrase that you’ll have heard everywhere from the evening news to sports broadcasts, and it’s one that gets to the heart of who we really are. As ever when you want to take your productivity to new heights it pays to spend a couple of minutes digesting the words of the productivity masters. Here goes…
Know How You’re Feeling
You’d be amazed at the number of people who simply have no idea how to interpret certain signals their own body gives off. If you can’t do it there’s no shame in it, but it’s certainly something you’re going to want to practice otherwise you’ll be missing out on a wealth of information that’s right there at your fingertips.
One of the key things to realise when you’re trying to figure out precisely what your frame of mind is, is that it will impact your body too. Recognising these physiological pointers is a great way of really getting to know yourself.
What Does Your Body Tell You?
If your muscles feel tense, you’re sweating inexplicably, and your temper is frayed then you’re stressed out. If you’ve lost your appetite and can’t sit still then you’re nervous. And if you feel loose and aren’t fixating on the passage of time then you’re rested and relaxed.
These are just a few examples of the pointers that your body (and mind) gives you that will enable you to identify how you’re really doing. I know what you’re thinking: this is all well and good, but how does it help me get more done?
If you look at an elite performer like Roger Federer it may be tempting to think that he was born ice cool. The idea of an innate talent that others simply can never emulate is great marketing, but it isn’t reality. Federer was known as something of a hothead in his teenage years and was actually banned from playing by his own parents for repeatedly smashing stuff up on court — clearly something changed.
The idea behind self care is to recognise that just as building bigger biceps is all about working in the gym, building a calm frame of mind that you can default to in high pressure situations is about putting in the work too. If you can do it then you’ll notice the difference in your performance straight away because you’ll be able to operate as if you weren’t under any pressure at all.
How Do You Do It?
This is the tricky part, and it’ll take time!
It’s about recognising the pointers your body gives you and then taking a step back. Ask yourself how you can reduce your stress with a short walk or 10 minutes of reading, and figure out what you can force yourself to eat regardless of your loss of appetite.
These are just a couple of examples but they illustrate the fundamental tenant of what I’m trying to get across: Take the time to address each departure from your calm frame of mind and you’ll soon figure out how to maintain it during increasingly stressful and nervy situations.