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Success Under Stress – Improve your energy and immunity with a better Future View

Beat stress with optimism

Future view, stress and immunity

Summary: Have you ever came down with a cold right after you finish a big project or return from a trip? Stress can zap your immune system and make you more susceptible to illness and infection.  You can, however, increase your immune system’s strength with a better future view.   This article and video give you three solid steps to improve yours.  (Also published on Success.com)

 

When you think about your future, how positive is that picture?  Your future view either sabotages your energy and makes you more likely to get sick or it increases your positive energy and resiliency to stress and illness.

We think about the future many times each day.  Each time you do, what do you focus on?  Is your view of the future optimistic and full of possibilities, or is filled with stressful and worry? 

After 23 years of being a stress motivational speaker and researching working adults, I’m absolutely clear on one thing:

People who thrive under stress have better future views.

Let me back up that statement with some research.  In a 2010 study published in Psychological Science, researchers studied 124 law students to determine if their future view, how optimistic they see their future, affected their immune system.  They found that those with a more optimistic view of their future had significantly stronger immune responses. 

Meaning, their attitude made their body better at fighting infection.

That’s interesting don’t you think?  It gets even more interesting. 

As a “motivational speaker” on stress and productivity, I sometimes get push back when I share that being optimistic gives you a strategic advantage in life.  Some will say, “I’m just not that optimistic of a person.”

The really interesting aspect of this study is that the researchers found that the students baseline level of optimism did not have a significant affect on their immune system. 

This is great news, because you don’t have to be full-blown optimist to get the amazing benefits of improving your future view.  Even cynical, pessimistic, “dooms dayers”  can get the same, full benefits of an improved immune response if they improve their future view. 

We don’t have control over what the future holds, but we do have control over how we view our future.  This study shows that our bodies are designed to thrive when we look forward with optimism.  

Here are three steps to help you create a better future view:

A. Take a mental snap shot of your current future view.

What do you see when you look to the future?  How does that picture make you feel? 

B. Improve it.

Identify anything that can help support a better future view.  I flesh out how to do this in another stress management video, called 1 out of 3: How people who thrive under stress stay motivated.

C. Make it a pattern.

Whenever you think about the future, I want you to make that a trigger to refocus on how to make the future look better.

For example, I was the closing Keynote speaker for a group of meeting professionals call the Society of Government Meeting Professionals.  Their organization is going through some big changes.  I asked them, and I ask you – When you look to the future are you focusing on the uncertainty or the opportunity?  The added work or the chance to stand out?  The loss of stability or appreciation for what you have?

By choosing a more optimistic view, you will not only increase your energy and motivation, but you will strengthen your immune system.

I know this is a simple idea, but the better you get at developing a better future view the better your chances are at being successful under stress.

Contact Andy Core if you would like to improve the future view of your people – 800.605.8480, nanci@andycore.com

CITATION: Optimistic Expectancies and Cell-Mediated Immunity: The Role of Positive Affect.” Segerstrom, Suzanne C.; Sephton, Sandra E. Psychological Science, Volume 21 (3), February 2010, Pages 448-455.

 

Light Board Video: Quiz – Going It Alone

Motivation in the workplace plays a critical role in thriving more and struggling less in a high demanding life.

In a high stress work environment, there are three types of hard working adults who operate in a high demanding job. The first group is the Thrivers, those who are productive in their work and sustain a great personal and professional life balance. On the other extreme are the Strugglers who do not operate in a high demanding job and most likely leave on their own to pursue opportunities elsewhere. In the middle are the Strivers who sometimes thrive and sometimes struggle.

My book Change Your Day Not Your Life has a quiz to help you identify where you stand in these three categories and what you can do to struggle less and thrive more. To take the quiz now, visit http://andycore.com/quiz/ to see if you are a Thriver, Striver, or Struggler.

In my quiz, one of the questions is, ‘How often do you feel like you are going it alone?’ Now when looking at research on motivation, a lot of motivational theories talk about the correlation between the lack of motivation and time spent feeling like you are going it alone. One theory that stands out is the Self Determination Theory of Motivation.

It states that the more time you spend feeling like you are ‘going it alone,’ the more you are going to struggle. With the more time you spend feeling like you are not alone or connected to something, the more positive energy and meaning you have.

Of the people who took my quiz: 66% of them said that they felt like they were going it alone most of the time, while 34% said that they almost never feel that way. That’s a lot of people who are struggling who shouldn’t be. So my question for you is this—How often do you feel like you are going it alone, and what can you do to change that?

For more tips on how to increase motivation, read my book Change Your Day Not Your Life.

 

Light Board Video: Quiz – Overwhelmed At Work

Being overwhelmed at work can cause anyone to have stress, but what you do with that stress is what can make you thrive or struggle.

In a high stress work environment, there are three types of hard working adults who operate in a high demanding job. The first group is the Thrivers, those who are productive in their work and sustain a great personal and professional life balance. On the other extreme are the Strugglers who do not operate in a high demanding job and most likely leave on their own to pursue opportunities elsewhere. In the middle are the Strivers who sometimes thrive and sometimes struggle.

My book Change Your Day Not Your Life has a quiz to help you identify where you stand in these three categories and what you can do to struggle less and thrive more. To take the quiz now, visit http://andycore.com/quiz/ to see if you are a Thriver, Striver, or Struggler.

In my quiz, one of the questions is, “When you are overwhelmed at work, which do you do more often?” Of those that answered this question: 6% said they would “set a new goal,” 71% said they would “focus on getting more organized,” and 23% said they would “vent to someone.” The research is very clear, the thriver behavior in this scenario is to set a new a goal when you feel overwhelmed.

If you’re looking for the secret to finding motivation, I believe the secret is written within the word itself. MOTIVATION = MOTION. Positive motion creates positive emotion.

Core Concept: Motivation is just momentum in disguise.

So, even if you set one small goal when feeling overwhelmed, you are eliciting a thriver behavior.

Now, being organized is very critical, but if your reaction to being overwhelmed is to get re-organized then you are exemplifying a struggler characteristic. The same with venting; we all need someone to vent to, but research has shown that when you vent at work you actually reduce your vitality and increase fatigue, resulting in the least productive reaction to being overwhelmed.

For more tips on how to reduce stress levels, read my book Change Your Day Not Your Life.

 

Thriver Quiz: Motivation and Goals

There are three types of hard working adults who operate in a high demanding job. The first group is the Thrivers. These people are productive in their work and also have the energy and time to sustain a personal and professional life balance. On the other extreme are the Strugglers who do not operate in a high demanding job and most likely leave on their own to pursue opportunities elsewhere. In the middle are the Strivers who sometimes thrive and sometimes struggle. Strivers work as hard as the Thrivers and succeed, but oftentimes struggle with stress, anxiety and overwhelming feelings.

When I wrote the book, Change Your Day Not Your Life, I created the Thriver Quiz to help people identify the ways of thinking and living that are helping or hindering them in a high-demand environment. To take the quiz now, visit http://andycore.com/quiz/ to see if you are a Thriver, Striver or Struggler.

One of my favorite questions on the quiz is, “How often are your daily patterns motivating you to accomplish your goals?”

In other words, is your daily routine consistently motivating you to thrive or is it creating obstacles, resistance or procrastination that cause you to struggle?

In the quiz, 30% of people said that their day rarely helps them out. This means they’re always fighting against struggling. 48% said their day sometimes helps them. Only 22% felt that their day really positions them to accomplish their goals most of the time. That is only 1 in 5.

Think about it like this: Does my daily flow really help motivate me to accomplish my goals or is it causing resistance?

If you’d like some ideas on how to do that, don’t try to change your whole life, just change your day. Second, go to my website www.andycore.com to read other blogs. You can also buy my book Change Your Day Not Your Life. This book is outlined to help you design a better way of life that triggers you to be motivated and accomplish your goals.

 

Thrive or Strive Quiz: Exercising

The topic of exercise plays a critical role in getting and staying motivated in order to thrive more and struggle less in a high demanding life.

In a high stress work environment, there are three types of hard working adults who operate in a high demanding job. The first group is the Thrivers, those who are productive in their work and sustain a great personal and professional life balance. On the other extreme are the Strugglers who do not operate in a high demanding job and most likely leave on their own to pursue opportunities elsewhere. In the middle are the Strivers who sometimes thrive and sometimes struggle.

My book Change Your Day Not Your Life has a quiz to help you identify where you stand in these three categories and what you can do to struggle less and thrive more. To take the quiz now, visit http://andycore.com/quiz/ to see if you are a Thriver, Striver, or Struggler.

In my quiz, one of the best questions is, “How often do you exercise at an effort level of 80% or higher?” 51% of people rarely exercise at an effort level of 80% or more, 9% exercise at this rate monthly and 40% exercise at this rate weekly. Based on those results, more than half of the people who took the quiz rarely work out at an effort level of 80% or more.

There are many benefits of exercising that create long term satisfaction such as more energy, motivation, work-life satisfaction and less stress. Specifically for people who are high stressed, exercising at an 80% or higher effort level makes a big difference. High levels of exercise can help reduce those high levels of stress like cortisol in your body.

The most common excuse for not making exercise a priority is lack of time or energy. An easy way to start exercising is to split your exercise time into five-minute blocks. I want you to do four minutes of exercise at a level of 60-80%, which is at conversational level, and one minute at 80% or more. After pushing yourself for 60 seconds, you can then go back to that four-minute level of exercise that is a little bit easier. This way, you can recover and it is less painful to jump back into that one-minute timeframe. This is a great way to break up your workouts, capitalize on stress reduction and make sure you’re adding enough positive energy to your life.

For more tips on how to reduce stress levels, read my book Change Your Day Not Your Life.

 
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Change Your Day, Not Your Life
A realistic guide to sustained motivation, more productivity, and the art of working well
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Author and speaker on work-life balance, productivity and wellbeing
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