In May 2016, I sought to discover our average mood, and the greatest threats to our resilience and performance. Over the next few weeks, I would like to share some of the insights that come from this research.
Average Mood (out of 10)
The average mood was 6.8/10
(0 = things are really bad – I’ve completely lost hope, 5 = I’m worried and stressed – but I’m sure things will get better again, 10 = I’m thriving – I can cope with whatever life throws at me)
Those with a mood in the range 6 – 10 = 75%
Those with a mood in the range 0 – 5 = 25%
When I invited people to ask questions related to mood killers, these were some examples:
Why am I so worried all the time – when I have archived so much (insecure)?
How do I move to an attitude of looking forward to the future and planning accordingly rather than focus on the short term / what’s next paradigm?
So what are the main resilience and performance killers?
|What were the main challenges to your resilience, mood and performance last week?
|Not getting enough quality sleep each night||60%|
|Not enough exercise||56%|
|Not enough “me time”||40%|
|Not enough quality time with family and friends||40%|
|Not counting my blessings enough||39%|
|Too much work||37%|
|Eating too much processed food||31%|
|My life lacks purpose||27%|
|Living an inauthentic life||24%|
|I’m experiencing bullying or harassment||11%|
The most striking feature about these results is that it is not just one element that is threatening our mood, but multiple factors. This confirms that we are complex beings, and require multiple strategies to stay well.
How do I stop worrying about things I can’t change?
People would say I’m happy and a positive influence, but I often feel angry or grumpy, and tend to take it out on my wife & kids – how can I change this?
How do I strike the balance between all my competing priorities?
With the pace and volume of change picking up, and all the results demanded, how do I maintain resilience?
How do I sustain motivation? I start off well then sabotage myself and nothing changes
Sleep and Exercise
It is interesting to note that in this busy and rapidly changing world, getting enough quality sleep is the greatest threat to our wellbeing.
The restorative qualities of sleep are well documented. By regularly sleeping less than 6 hours per night, we increase our risk of obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. We even increase our likelihood of premature death by 12%.
From a work perspective, poor sleep has been shown to reduce focus, attention, vigilance, and information recall.
One of the 3 tips in the article above relates to the sleep improving qualities of getting more exercise.
In fact, Just 30 minutes brisk walk each day can substantially improve our capacity to sleep well. Ideally, this should be in the sunshine to boost your melatonin levels. A study published in the Mental Health and Physical Activity journal, shows that 150 minutes of exercise per week provided a 65% improvement in sleep quality to 2600 men and women aged from 18-85.
A 30 minute brisk walk (or equivalent) has been shown to significantly improve mood after 2, 4, 8, and 12 hours, compared to those that don’t exercise. Improving our sleep is another reason why incorporating exercise into our daily routine is critical.
Some related questions
How can I incorporate regular exercise into my daily routine?
How can I be more disciplined about getting to sleep at same-ish time every night?
How do I exercise more to improve fitness and wellbeing?
How do I overcome tiredness? How best to build exercise into busy life whilst having sedentary role at work?
It was surprising how highly this rated as a detriment to people’s wellbeing and performance. Although Australia is a relatively affluent country, we are also a group that has high expectations, and this result indicates we could benefit from better money management and attitudes.
Some related questions
How do I achieve sustainable financial balance with my self-owned company?
How do I improve mood when suffering financial stress?
How do I manage life-work balance given at 60+ I will still need to work for another ten years to break even?
Is studying to obtain another degree to increase future financial remuneration worth it?
What CAN I do to improve my control over finances?
How long will it take to find another job? Will I run out of money before then?
Not enough “me time” and quality time with family and friends
When respondents were asked to nominate questions they had regarding challenges to experiencing a positive mood, many related to how to balance all the competing needs in our lives. I’m certain that we often forget to prioritize our own needs, and those of our loved ones, when things get overwhelming.
This is a tragedy, because if we don’t make time for the things that keep us well, we are much less likely to help anyone else. The importance of having positive relationships with friends and family is confirmed by the 75+ year Harvard Grant wellbeing study. This reveals that “warm relationships” are the best predictor of a long, healthy, and fulfilling life.
How do I move on after divorce?
How can I get more time with our children?
Why can’t I make more “me time” and be comfortable seeing this as a priority?
How can I avoid my partner’s unhealthy lifestyle choices from affecting me?
How can I let my loved ones in through the wall I build around myself to help and support me, without me hurting them?
How do I prioritise my time so that I attend to my personal needs more (e.g. meditation)?
So what is the solution?
When it is all said and done, we need to be more grateful for the good things in our life already. We also need to make a priority of the things that keep us healthy and fulfilled. This knowledge comes though reflection and self-knowledge. Some of the questions above have relatively straight forward answers, whilst others are more complex.
I would suggest to deciding on one resilience element of your life you would like to improve in the next 60 days and then commit to creating a ritual that addresses it.
DEVELOP YOUR RESILIENCE
Your organisation may be interested in experiencing the 7 Rituals of the Resilient Leader Workshop – Sign up for our free poster and course to learn how to create rituals that improve your resilience, mood, and performance.