One of the fundamental tenets of metabolic health is that there’s no one magic bullet for improving your health—success is cumulative. Changing the kind of food you eat is not going to have the same impact if you aren’t also sleeping. Improving your emotional health with mindfulness isn’t as effective if you aren’t also getting the benefits of exercise.
This is also true within specific health pillars. As an example of this kind of “better together,” I’m going to share an example for how to supercharge your emotional health with a power trio of behaviors. Each of the practices is beneficial on its own, but when you use all three together, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Let’s take a look at these techniques separately and then examine how they come together to support your emotional health and help you excel in any situation, from first dates to contract negotiations.
You have to see what you want to create mentally before it will show up in your life. This is why high performers ranging from Olympic athletes to hedge fund managers use visualization before big events to improve their outcomes. In visualization, we gently guide our thoughts to visualize the best-case scenario or use our imagination to have a full five-sense experience of how our next high-demand situation would ideally play out. Visualization is, therefore, a valuable tool to prepare our physical, mental, and emotional states for high performance. Here’s one to try.
Stress and fear affect the diaphragm first, so anytime you’re in a high-demand situation, breathwork is key. Different breathing techniques have different effects on the body; some are energizing, some are relaxing, but what they all have in common is that they bring you into your body and the present moment. They also help to oxygenate your brain, blood, and organs in a way that most exercise does not.
Power posing, or standing in expansive, open, powerful stances (such as with your fists on your hips and your shoulders back—picture Wonder Woman!) can physiologically change things in your body. When we get afraid, we shrink, we hide, we protect ourselves, and these physical actions can actually trigger the production of fear chemicals in our bodies. Similarly, when we start to open up, the brain senses that we are relaxed, safe, and confident, and it will start to produce bliss chemicals like dopamine and serotonin. So, simply by changing our physical stance we can send a different message to our brain, which in turn helps us to feel more confident and project confidence.
The combination of breathwork, visualization, and power poses can positively affect every area of your health and performance, especially in stressful situations. Using these techniques in tandem will oxygenate your brain, ground you in your physical body, decrease nervousness, and increase confidence. Try them before your next big life event: public speaking, business negotiations, even first dates. Simply knowing that you have these three tools in your back pocket will help you perform at the top of your game—and seeing in practice how small health changes add up to big results.
Calibrate Sleep and Emotional Health Expert
Emily Fletcher is the founder of Ziva Meditation and the leading expert in meditation for extraordinary performance. Her book “Stress Less, Accomplish More” debuted at #7 out of all books on Amazon. The New York Times, The Today Show, Vogue and ABC News have all featured Emily’s work. She’s been named one of the top 100 women in wellness to watch and has taught more than 20,000 students around the world.